Russia: Pipeline explodes in Prionezhsky District
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Footage from the pipeline breach in the northwestern Karelia region of Russia shows dramatic flaring as escaping gas ignited sending a fierce fireball erupting from the stricken pipe. The explosion is reported to have taken place on Wednesday, August 3 in the early hours of the morning.
Black smoke can be seen bellowing from the ruptured pipeline in a video recorded at the scene of the blast, with a 100-metre-high wall of flames emerging form the breach.
The Prosecutor’s Office in Karelia is reported to have triggered an investigation into the cause of the gas explosion.
“During the inspection, the circumstances of the incident will be established, as well as an assessment will be made of the observance of the procedure for investigating the causes of the accident and the timeliness of eliminating its consequences.
“Based on the results of the audit, if there are grounds, prosecutorial response measures will be taken,” the official statement of the department read.
At the end of July, Russian gas producer Gazprom stopped sending gas to neighbouring Latvia after accusing it of violating supply conditions, a move the Baltic country said would have little impact on its gas supplies.
Russia has already cut off gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark, which refused to pay for gas in line with an order by President Vladimir Putin requiring rouble accounts to be set up in a Russian bank.
Moscow has also halted gas sales to Shell Energy Europe in Germany.
In a statement, Gazprom did not specify which gas supply conditions Latvia, a European Union and NATO military alliance member bordering Russia, had allegedly violated.
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Edijs Saicans, deputy state secretary on energy policy at the Latvian Economy Ministry, said Gazprom’s move would have little effect given that Latvia has already decided to ban Russian gas imports from January 1, 2023.
“We do not see any major impacts from such a move,” he said.
Gazprom’s announcement came a day after Latvian energy firm Latvijas Gaze said it was buying gas from Russia and paying in euros rather than the roubles required when trading with Gazprom.
A spokesperson for Latvijas Gaze, however, said on Friday that it was not purchasing gas from Gazprom. Latvijas Gaze would not name its Russian provider, citing business confidentiality.
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Latvijas Gaze did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday following Gazprom’s announcement.
EU countries agreed on Tuesday to an emergency regulation to curb their gas use this winter, preparing for a winter of uncertain supplies from Russia.
In March, Putin said the world’s largest natural gas producer would require countries designated as “unfriendly” in their stance on Moscow’s actions in Ukraine to pay for piped gas in roubles.
The European Commission – which has warned that complying with Putin’s order could breach EU sanctions on Moscow – has urged companies to keep paying in the currency agreed in their contracts with Gazprom. Most are in euros or dollars.
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