By Betul Yuruk
UNITED NATIONS (AA) - The UN warned Friday that damage to the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea can exacerbate price volatility in energy markets in Europe and around the world.
The Security Council convened an emergency meeting requested by Russia to discuss leaks in the gas pipelines.
Several European leaders accused Russia of causing the explosions and described the leaks as "sabotage." Russia, however, denied any responsibility.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Navid Hanif briefed the 15-member Council on three possible potential effects of the leaks.
He said leaks in the pipelines increase concerns regarding uncertainty in global energy markets which could lead to higher price volatility.
''The potential environmental impact of the leaks is a matter of concern,'' he said. ''Discharge of hundreds of million cubic meters of gas into the atmosphere would result in hundreds of thousands of tonnes of methane emissions.''
He said it is not yet possible to assess how much methane is released into the atmosphere, given many uncertainties.
He also expressed concern about the vulnerability of critical energy infrastructure.
Denmark and Sweden informed the Council in a joint letter Friday that the leaks were caused by blasts equal to "several hundred kilos of explosives.”
The US and Russia exchanged accusations at the Council with the Russian envoy quoting US President Joe Biden's statement in February that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean the end of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
"You can't deny the words of your own president," said Vassily Nebenzia.
US deputy representative Richard Mills denied any link to the leaks and accused Russia of spreading "conspiracy theories.''
The Russia-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, originating in Russia and passing under the Baltic Sea to Germany, was constructed to double the volume of gas.
As soon as the construction finished, however, Germany decided to halt operations after the start of Russia's war against Ukraine in February.
Russia halted gas flow from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Aug. 31.