A few Nord Stream facts

I keep hearing this Nord Stream talking point, “Why would Russia blow up their own pipeline?” This generated in the American right-wing media ecosystem very quickly, so let’s get some facts straight – Nord Stream 1 & 2 aren’t only “Russian” pipelines – they’re JOINT ventures with Russian Gazprom paying half the cost of construction and a group of western companies paying half:

“Gazprom paid half the cost of building Nord Stream 2, with the remainder of the $11 billion pipeline project financed by British oil and gas major Shell (SHEL.L), Austria’s OMV (OMVV.VI), France’s Engie and Germany’s Uniper (UN01.DE) and Wintershall DEA (WINT.UL).” Source: Reuters article from March 2022.

The Europeans have been trying to keep Russia pumping gas, because especially the Germans are very dependent on that Russian gas. First there were reports that Nord Stream 1 was shut down due to needing repairs back in July and Canada sent the repaired turbine to Germany for that repair.

By August Russia said they couldn’t do the repairs on Nord Stream 1

By September: Russia cuts off gas exports to Europe via Nord Stream indefinitely

Nord Stream 2 wasn’t even operational yet.

“The construction of the pipeline started in 2011, to expand the Nord Stream line and double annual capacity to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet). It was completed in September 2021, but has not yet entered service.” Source: Wikipedia

Russia has a massive gas pipeline project with China, that when completed will reach all the way to Shanghai.

Russia has other lucrative gas and oil deals with numerous countries and is the largest oil exporter in the world and will surely find new markets, while the Europeans are scrambling to find oil and gas to get through this winter. Even the US was importing Russian oil.

So, let’s look at this idea of “Why would Russia blow up their own pipeline?” Well, Russia was putting the screws to the Europeans, especially the Germans, trying to pressure them to back down on supporting Ukraine. The Europeans and US and Canada held their alliance together with supporting Ukraine and escalated the sanctions against Russia. Russia refused to get Nord Stream 1 operational and stopped pumping gas, then issued more threats and even threatened nuclear war, while the Germans were still trying to get Russia to resume shipping gas and scrambling to try to find other sources around the world. Russia exerted its influence with OPEC, so when Biden went to Saudi Arabia, begging for more oil, he was rebuffed.

Russia expanded their market in India by offering huge discounts. Here’s a September 2022 article: Russia is now offering even more discounts to India on oil

Why would the US or Europeans blow up Nord Stream 1, which will devastate western companies, while Gazprom has expanding markets?

Russia had already cut its losses on Nord Stream and can survive without Nord Stream, while the Europeans and US are scrounging around for oil and gas. Of course, in the US the oil and gas shortages are completely due to the Biden administration’s decision to kill the American oil and gas industry with their crazy green energy plan, but still what would the US gain by blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, which Russia had already written off and was using to try to blackmail the Germans to abandon Ukraine? Russia would gain a lot by giving the Germans and Europeans the middle finger by blowing that up and threatening nuclear war. It would show the Western alliance that Russia won’t hesitate to use more force. At the same time the Nord Stream explosions occurred, Putin announced Russia was annexing parts of Ukraine.

I can’t say 100% who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines, but I can say there’s a lot of evidence that Russia had plenty of motivations to give a big middle finger to European leaders and to let them know that if they continue aiding Ukraine, Russia will retaliate forcefully.

So many right-wing Americans blame the US for Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, while absolving Putin of any blame. I disagreed with US policy decisions in Ukraine during the Obama administration and I disagree with a lot of decisions the Biden administration has made before and since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. However, Russia also has escalated this war and Russia is the one threatening nuclear war. Putin is not some victim in this war and Russia had no legitimate right to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Part of why so many Americans rushed to buy into blaming the US for the Nord Stream explosions I blame on the Democrats and their corrupt “Trump/Russia Collusion” smear campaign, which was total bs. That years-long Democrat smear effort led many Americans on the right to just discount Russian disinformation as being a real thing. I blame Trump too, because at times he talked like Putin was a great guy.

And here’s the beauty of the useful idiots in the US carrying water for Russian propaganda- they hate Biden so much that they will make excuses for Putin these days. Tucker Carlson rushed to carry that water a few days ago. Carlson also frequently casts Putin as a good guy. Lots of other ordinary people on social media have too. I watched a prepper video recently by a hard-working, decent American guy, who hates Biden and the left’s radical agenda a lot, which I understand completely. He was quoting RT – Russia Today as his source and I was wondering how Americans could be so willing to buy into Russian propaganda.

Here’s the thing about Putin – he hates America and the West (that includes right-wing Americans too) and he’s still very much the KGB agent. Despite the Democrats calling everything on the right in America “Russian disinformation,” the reality is actual Russian disinformation still exists and unfortunately now right-wingers in America, who used to understand the Russian threat, are walking around citing RT and talking about how Putin isn’t such a bad guy. Our own domestic spin war has led so many Americans to distrust our own government and each other more than they distrust Putin, who wants to destroy the West and rebuild the former Soviet Union. And, I suppose many Americans no longer remember the Cold War or understand that history.


Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics

6 responses to “A few Nord Stream facts

  1. JK

    My oilfields servicing company friend emailed me a link that, in *her opinion “This is JK, in all likelihood, and in my best professional opinion the best explanation of what happened I’ve seen on the non-professionals internet. You’re [her “speaking” to me/ jk] always on about ‘confidence measures’ and so if you’re asking me for that in those terms I would give it a 90+ confidence rating. With the [caveat] that some of [the author’s understanding of the] chemistry of hydrates leaves room for improvement.”

    The bracketed stuff is my shortening a rather comprehensive back-and-forth email exchange.

    *Her. I’ve known her for at least 60 years. Her Dad was a geologist for Skelly. Two of her Dad’s brothers spent their professional lives with Halliburton and indeed, as a early 20s something recent college graduate – BS Geology – she started her career with Halliburton as well. She and two other individuals formed their own independent company “about” 1995. Today that company has contracts worldwide.


    Mr. Carlson? You should consider that a Must Read. Enough with the mis-information.

    • To say I’m clueless about science and physics stuff is underestimating my glaring deficiencies, JK. I’m open to the possibility it was accidental or that Russia, the US or some other country with that capability (I suppose that’s a pretty small group) could have engaged in sabotage.

      I’ve said from the beginning that Russia and China were preparing to wage an economic war against the West and that I didn’t expect Putin to ramp it up to a military invasion that quickly.

      The US and Europeans actually unifying to support Ukraine and engage in significant and punishing sanctions surprised me. It surprised me they actually pulled together and acted, rather than just hand-wringing and speechifying. I will say that if they hadn’t unified or responded, I think the situation would be even worse, because I feel certain that if Putin had faced little resistance in Ukraine, China would have already made major military moves too.

      My main problems with this Ukraine war is they don’t seem to have an end game and keep moving the goalposts. Zelensky made so many ridiculous demands and Kiev is a bottomless money pit now. The mission creep keeps growing and I think the US and Europeans would have been better off leaving some off-ramp for Putin and telling Zelensky this is what we’re willing to do. Now, they all seem to be gravitating toward regime change in Russia as the goal and frankly, this failure to understand the history of the region has led to positions that will not work well.

      At the same time Putin has decided to stake Russia’s future on not backing down an inch in Ukraine. Russia isn’t going to willingly give up Sevastapol, anymore than they were going to willingly abandon Tartus in Syria (or let Assad fall)..

      As this has escalated Putin has taken more and more extreme positions and actions too. Both sides have now worked themselves into very dangerous positions.

      That’s never a good place to be between the US and Russia, – countries with large nuclear arsenals. Regime change in the nuclear age isn’t like the old days of regime change. In the interim, chaos in Russia could lead to an even more destabilizing situation than the “loose nukes” problems when the Soviet Union collapsed. All this macho crap about “crushing the enemy” in the modern nuclear era seems to lead to more chaos and even worse leaders. Whenever you think “this leader is as bad as Hitler and needs to go, ” what seems inevitable is the leader that now follows is even worse than the one who was “as bad as Hitler”… This happened with the entire “decapitation strategy” with Al Qaeda too – it led to even more unpredictable and crazier leaders, whom we knew less and less about. And the “great” strategic minds often used the “omg, if Al Qaeda gets nukes, we’re doomed, so we have to do this, that or the other” arguments – leading to more instability and chaos. America doesn’t have the will or the strategic capacity of a General Marshall these days. We seem to have a strategic brain trust still unwilling to admit the GWOT and regime change strategies of both the GWB and Obama administrations failed miserably.

      • JK

        “I’m open to the possibility it was accidental or that Russia, the US or some other country with that capability (I suppose that’s a pretty *small group) could have engaged in sabotage.”

        Yes LB, We must all keep our minds open.

        *Where the number of individual nations is concerned, yes that would be a rather small group. However: and at the genuine risk of my offering this observation which then might/could be opportunistically used by those such as Mr. Carlson;

        If Iraq and Afghanistan should have definitively “opened American eyes” to any one thing [obviously there are many examples of things but] At any rate the one thing I’d observe for this one purpose is – How incestuous has become the nature of the relationship between our military branches and private contractors; ie ostensibly ‘private industry’ [see Eisenhower].

        So then – that which would in the Historical sense be a small group becomes now, and here I’m just thinking ‘oil companies’ with the wherewithal to pull something like that off – the number would then go from maybe twelve to five hundred suspects. (Lets hope Tucker forgets to read here until this post of yours goes below the fold!)

        To your latter points LB I might suggest *we’ve reached the point of the proverbial Chinese curse of “interesting times” indeed.

      • On a slightly different tangent, JK, where I get as frustrated with the right-wing echo-chamber as much as I am with the left-wing peanut gallery, is the very people on the right who rant about not wanting US involvement in Ukraine, simultaneously chant they want to “Make America Great Again.”.

        We don’t live in a vacuum and if the US abandons the world superpower role, Russia and China are already on the move to replace us. We can’t MAGA and become isolationist too. Russia and China were planning their own post-COVID “great reset” too and Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine came sooner than I expected, but they were already planning to take charge as the West fell into financial disarray and civil unrest with the crazy green-energy transformation.

        All these simplistic slogans our politicians, news media and pundits latch onto as “THE SOLUTION” invariably lack any realistic grasp of the complexities in the real world and they assuredly fail to account for the one inescapable truth in world affairs and that is our friends and foes alike all have their own hands to play too – which we can’t control. That’s a hard pill for a lot of partisan flamethrowers in America to grasp. All these ideas of “all we need to do is X, Y, or Z” never account for all those other actors on the world stage. Those people aren’t just stage props – they’re leaders and peoples with their own concerns, aspirations, and determination to advance or protect their own interests. We ignore that at our own peril.

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