Not sabotage? Could be, read and learn.

Ok, the Nord pipeline incidents.

In my experience when anything involving energy-industry hydrocarbons explodes … well, sabotage isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. And honestly, when it comes to a pipeline running natural gas under Russian (non)maintenance, an explosion means that it’s Tuesday. Or Friday. Or another day of the week ending in “y”.

Under certain circumstances of pressure, temperature, and water presence natural gas/methane will form solid hydrates, with concomitant amounts of fun.

The Recommended Best Practice to clear a hydrate plug is a vvveeerryyy slllooowww depressurisation from BOTH ENDS, SIMULTANEOUSLY.

How slowly, you ask? For a pipeline the size of Nordstream we’re talking weeks.

As the line reaches local atmospheric pressure heat is transferred to the plug from the environment, and the plug begins to melt, starting at the plug/wall interface.

However, if you are a national gas company with institutional paranoia, a Nationalised aversion to looking weak or asking for help, and a Good Idea Fairy fueled by vodka — well, you can depressurise the pipe from one end.

“So, LawDog,” I hear you say, “What do you think happened?”

Honestly, I suspect someone in the Russian government pinged Gazprom, and said, “The EU is about to have a cold winter. make sure those pipelines sodding well work, so we can sell someone natural gas at massively increased prices.”

So, Somebody In Charge started running checks — and came up with hydrate slurry in both pipelines. After the running in circles, hyperventilating, and shrieking of curse-words stopped, somebody started trying to remediate both lines. Of course they didn’t tell folks down stream — no Russian want to look weak, and besides, there’s been a nasty uptick in failed Russian oligarchs getting accidentally defenestrated — they just unilaterally tried to Fix Things.

Read the whole thing, very educational and entertaining. 


About On the North River

Forty years toiled in the Tel-com industry, married for 36 years widowed at sixty-one. New girlfriend at sixty-five. Was a Tea Party supporter. Today a follower of the Last American President to be honestly elected, Donald J. Trump.
This entry was posted in 2022, All the News not fit to print., Can't fix Stupid. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Not sabotage? Could be, read and learn.

  1. Dan says:

    Maybe it was an accident/ incompetence. Maybe it was sabotage. What IS true is the criminals in power…both here AND in Russia have lied so often about so many things that they can no longer be believed about anything.


  2. pjrae54 says:

    I read this and was all in about the low/no maintenance causation. Then the Crimean bridge gets blown to smithereens. We are living in dangerous times, indeed.


  3. The Crimean bridge was a wake up call. What’s the old saw; once is accident, twice is coincidence but three times is enemy action? If you count Nordstream I as accident and II as coincidence then … well, here we are.

    This is going to make a hell of a movie some day.
    I can just see Queen Latifah in commando gear, (no blackface required), knife in her teeth and nuclear bomb hidden in her handbag.


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