Three people were killed and one was injured following an explosion at the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline in Chuvashia, reported Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti citing a local government official. According to preliminary data from Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, the explosion at the pipeline was caused by a gas leak.
An “operator” was performing maintenance on the pipeline prior to the explosion.
Videos of the fire, which occurred after the explosion, were published on social media. The former deputy head of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations told RIA Novosti that the gas flare was extinguished. A section of the gas pipeline has been damaged, and its repair may take close to three days, the Ministry of Emergency Situations added.
Gas prices in Europe jumped to $1250 per thousand cubic meters amid news of the explosion, and then retreated to $1188.
The Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod pipeline exports gas from Western Siberia to mainland Europe. The pipeline crosses the Russian-Ukrainian border at the Sudzha station in the Kursk region. This pipe is the only entry point for gas from Russia to Ukraine for subsequent transit to Europe.
This is not the first incident at a Russian pipeline since the start of the war in Ukraine. In November, an explosion and subsequent fire damaged a gas pipeline near Vsevolozhsk in the Leningrad region. On September 26, a string of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was damaged; later, both strings were depressurized. Eventually three of the four pipelines, which run from Russia to Europe, were found to have been damaged. Germany's Der Tagesspiegel reported, citing sources, that the pipelines could have been attacked by submarines or specially trained divers.