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March 16, 2023

Nord Stream Owners Looking to Seal and Drain Damaged Gas Pipeline to Halt Corrosion

The gas leak at Nord Stream 2 seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm in late September 2022. Photo Danish Defence

The gas leak at Nord Stream 2 seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm in late September 2022. Photo Danish Defence

Shareholders of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline operator are discussing how to seal and empty the damaged gas pipeline to halt corrosion from sea water, said the chief financial officer of E.ON, one of the owners.

The chief financial officer of E.ON, one of the stakeholders, told reporters at the group's results news conference that it was unclear whether the pipeline would be repaired but that any forthcoming decisions are likely to be made with the support of all shareholders.

"We continue to exercise our rights as a minority shareholder in the Nord Stream 1 operating company. And we still see no point in simply leaving the field to Gazprom at this point," E.ON's Marc Spieker said.

Nord Stream is majority owned by Russia's Gazprom, with other stakeholders including Wintershall DEA, Engie, and Gasunie.

E.ON on Wednesday said it had written off the value of its 15.5% stake in Nord Stream 1, the two strands of which were damaged by suspected sabotage in September.

The stake had initially been worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), but its value was cut to zero in several steps.

"At the moment, the operating company is concentrating on the question of how the two destroyed pipelines can first be sealed and drained so that the strands do not corrode further," Spieker said.

Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters this month that, while there was no plan to repair the ruptured pipeline, it would at least be conserved for possible reactivation in the future.

"Whether a repair will be attempted at some point in the future ... is completely speculative from today's point of view," Spieker said. "It depends on many factors - political, social, economic. Only time will tell."

($1 = 0.9424 euros)

(Reuters - Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Vera Eckert/Editing by Miranda Murray and David Goodman)

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