Leaks from the Nord Stream gas pipeline discovered on Tuesday will not affect Estonia's gas supply but they may raise gas prices in the foreseeable future, said Raul Kotov, board member of state-owned energy company Eesti Gaas.
"The Nord Stream gas pipeline does not directly affect the Estonian gas supply, but, of course, it may have an indirect effect on gas prices. Looking at today's prices, by the end of the day, the prices on the Dutch gas exchange had actually started to rise," Kotov told ETV's "Ringvaate" on Tuesday evening.
"Even though the pipeline was not used, there was certainly an expectation that if it went into operation, it could provide some kind of supply and additional gas. So if the pipeline is broken, there is no such certainty and it could really affect the price of gas," he added.
Kotov did not want to speculate on the cause of the leaks.
"It is very difficult for us to comment on this because the pipelines are strong and they should not break by themselves," he said. "That's a question for experts and researchers to work out."
However, Kotov did rule out rusted pipes saying they are thick and covered by a layer of concrete. The oldest Nord Stream pipes have been underwater for a decade and newer pipes only a few years.
He said it is not unknown for undersea gas pipes to break, but the situation with Nord Stream, which is laid on the floor of the Baltic Sea, is "strange".
Turning to the Balticconnector undersea pipeline between Estonia and Finland, Kotov said it is unlikely it could accidentally break.
"Balticconnector has been built following all technical standards and the gas pipeline is marked on shipping lanes so that the pipes cannot be broken by accident. /.../ Rather optimistically, I would say that it will not happen. But what [happened] was with Nord Stream was strange," he said.
Nord Stream, which runs from Russia to Germany, has not been supplying gas to Europe for several months.
The leaks, near Denmark's Bornholm Island, were discovered on Tuesday.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright