Senior intelligence officials have warned that Britain could face an energy nightmare this winter, as Russia is plotting an attack on a key gas pipeline between the UK and Norway. Following the suspected sabotage of the Russian-built Nord Stream 2 pipeline in September, experts previously told Express.co.uk that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be sending Europe a chilling message, and could strike gas pipelines and electricity cables between the UK and the rest of Europe. With Britain playing a major role in supporting Ukraine’s fight against the invading Russian forces, experts fear that the Kremlin will be looking to retaliate by plunging Britons into darkness.
Senior military and intelligence sources warned that Putin could try to sabotage the Langeled pipeline, which provides one-fifth of the country’s gas demand.
A NATO source said: “Sabotage is the next step if they want to escalate by attacking Britain’s critical energy infrastructure because we are so fragile. And it’s no coincidence that Britain has been one of Ukraine’s biggest backers.”
Another NATO official who works directly on threats to critical infrastructure warned that the 725-mile-long Langeled pipeline is an “obvious target” for the Russians because of the vital role Norway has played in helping Europe wean itself off Russian gas.
Attacking European energy pipelines and cables would not be out of character for the Kremlin, as over the past year, Putin has manipulated gas flows into the EU as retaliation to Western sanctions.
A senior Norwegian official also added that Oslo believes Putin is eyeing the pipeline “to break the cohesion amongst Ukraine’s Western allies and disrupt the flow of gas.
They told the Mail: “When people start maybe freezing and the flow of energy stops, people will turn around and say just let Putin have whatever he wants and get the gas to come back on.”
Langeled is one the world’s longest underwater gas pipelines, running for 725 miles and carrying gas supplies from to the Easington gas terminal on the Yorkshire coast.
The UK and other EU nations have been on high alert since September when a number of leaks were discovered along the 1,234km-long Nord Stream pipelines between Russia and Germany.
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The European Union has claimed they are an act of sabotage, with many analysts pointing toward Russia. However, the Kremlin has denied these allegations.
Experts have since warned that not only were the Nord Stream leaks intentional, it was likely triggered by Russia as a threat to the rest of the European countries that have similar undersea pipelines and cables.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, John Baldwin, Managing Director of CNG Services said: “I am a gas engineer, and what’s clear is that you cannot get a leak out of a pipeline. A 200-mile pipeline just doesn’t have a leak.
“It’s obvious that Putin was getting ready to invade Ukraine from the middle part of 2021, so it’s possible then he could have put some mines down there around the pipe, which sort of detonated.
“The worry is obviously that he could have put similar mines around the Norwegian gas pipelines that come to the UK and the UK pipelines and cables.
“That’s almost like the message isn’t it, ‘I’ve mined my own pipes in international waters, but I might as well have mined your pipes and you’ll never find those mines. If you keep helping Ukraine one day they might go and you won’t have any gas at all.'”
He added that aside from gas pipelines, undersea interconnecting cables, that transport electricity, could also now be vulnerable. A similar leak to the pipelines connecting the UK and Norway could be catastrophic for Britain, as the country is the UK’s single biggest supplier of gas, responsible for 60 percent of the total gas demand.
The country is also the third largest exporter of natural gas in the world, trailing behind Russia and Qatar, which is why it was dubbed the “battery of Europe”.
Such a leak would plunge the UK into a major energy security nightmare and could trigger major power shortages and blackouts this winter, particularly as National Grid is predicted to import 1.4 GW from Norway.