First photographs of the Nord Stream explosion damage


The first civilian video of the damaged Nord Stream pipeline has emerged.  Screen captures from the video appear to show that the explosion originated inside the pipeline, and blew outward.  Click either image for a larger view.

That would tend to support Lawdog’s theory that the explosions were caused by methane hydrates, that congealed into a hydrate plug inside the pipeline.  If an explosion had occurred outside the pipeline, it would have blown the metal inwards, rather than outwards.  Of course, those few images aren’t conclusive, but the deep trenches blown into the seabed around the explosion site would tend to support the theory.  If an external explosion had caused the blast, it would presumably have made a crater (a deep divot in the ground) around the explosion site, in a roughly circular pattern.  If the video is to be believed, this explosion did not do that;  but it might well have propagated a seabed rupture reaching out to either side of the pipeline, as the seismic effect of the blast made itself felt through the concrete surrounding the pipe and protecting it on the sea floor.

I’m not an engineer, and I’m not an explosives expert.  Nevertheless, I’ve caused a few loud bangs in my time (back when I was in uniform), and I know a little about the subject.  I’ll be watching this with great interest, to see what else comes out in the wash.



  1. The Swedes said that the explosions did NOT originate in or above the pipelines.

    According to Le Monde:
    On Thursday, October 6, the Swedish security service (Säpo) issued a statement saying that the first inspections at the site of the leaks, which began over the weekend, had “increased the suspicion of aggravated sabotage.” Although Säpo did not specify what type of information it had, the investigators were able to establish that the detonations had occurred near the gas pipelines, and not above or inside them, as had been suggested for a time. They also indicated that they had seized some items for analysis.

    So someone is wrong. I don't know that the video shows what you say it shows.

  2. I doubt we'll ever get a report from any government agency that doesn't promote the narrative. Those that really know the reason will be silenced until history reveals the truth…if that ever happens.

  3. I am an engineer, and worked on O&G projects in Russia. First, you can't get an internal explosion from hydrates because there's no oxygen in the line, and the Russians would have taken the elementary steps to prevent that by putting methanol in the line to prevent hydrates when the flow rates were lowered. Second, internal overpressure typically causes a ragged longitudinal split, not a clean circumferential failure like that shown. That's a shear failure, and can't see enough to tell how it happened, but possibly shaped charge or large external forces. The Swedes aren't talking, but I assume they are confident this was sabotage.

  4. Doesn't really look like any ruptured pipe I've seen, the tears are usually quite jagged with a lot of deformation. This looks more like a plasma cut. Maybe it's an product of the explosion being 250 feet underwater but we'll see. Also curious that they are "missing" over 50 yards of pipe, it doesn't just disappear. Hopefully we get some more detailed images covering a wider area so we can speculate even more wildly.

  5. The hull of the Battleship Maine also showed bending outward (i.e. internal explosion, not external). But we all know how that played out in 1899.

    – Borepatch

  6. Even if lawdog's explanation is correct, that still doesn't rule out sabotage. A valve on the European side could have been opened with the intent of causing the "accident". Or, would the "accident" have happened if someone had drilled into (or punctured in some manner) the pipe on the ocean floor?
    Unfortunately, we will likely never know what truly happened.

  7. I've seen damage like that in a hydraulic cylinder head to cylinder connection that failed from substandard material. I wonder if there was a weld or joint there that could have gone bad.
    As mentioned above, it doesn't look like a typical explosion – it appears too clean and symmetric radially.

  8. Keep in mind that there was substantial pressure and flow (think jets, not gentle bubbles) out of those ruptures for hours to days. That will dig out a lot of seabed. The fracture joint looks at least superficially similar to lots of metal brittle fractures I have seen. Microscopic analysis by metallurgists can tell a heck of a lot from careful analysis once samples are in hand…which I am surprised has not happened already.

    Even if burst internally, sabotage is a real possibility. Hydraulic hammer is a very significant event in long pipelines, and not particularly hard to cause.

  9. Cherry-picked images only show what they want us to see. There may be other pictures that show external explosion damage or the line unzipping from internal pressure.

    The source chose *those* images to maintain a narrative.

  10. If it looks like a failed weld, it looks like a failed weld…
    That does not prove that the pipe failed *because* of the weld, only that it failed *at* the weld…. At most, is suggests that the weld was the weakest point.

    Yes, with millions of cubic metres of gas, escaping under pressure, it is not surprising that it may have eroded the sea-bed adjacent to the breach. It’s equally common with leaking or burst water-pipes, but I don’t think it tells us much about the cause.

    Talking about what the Russians “would have done”, tells us nothing about what “was” done. Assumptions that the Russians are honest and competent is no more valid than assuming that other potential players are ditto. That is what we have yet to find out.

  11. If everyone had done what they *should*, then the gas would still be flowing through undamaged pipes, there would be no Russian troops in Ukraine …….. and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  12. If everyone had done what they "should" there would be no aid going to a color revolution Ukraininan government and NATO would be a couple of countries smaller.

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