In a major development likely sounding the death knell for the erstwhile pride of the extensive Russian pipeline network, Reuters has reported that Gazprom is set to seal up the damaged Nord Stream 1 & 2 pipelines to Europe as there are no plans to repair them.
This is a sign Moscow has given up on Europe as a key buyer of its gas in the face of strong Asian demand.
"Unless the war ends, there's no reason to start repairing them - literally anytime there might be a repetition of the entire thing," a Kpler analyst Viktor Katona told Insider, a global news publication.
Yet sealing the Nord Stream pipelines is one of several ways a pipeline operator can preserve the pipelines -- by sealing the severed ends and taking measures to prevent further corrosion from seawater.
Last September, explosions ruptured the Nord Stream pipelines and set the Baltic sea boiling with leaking methane gas. It disrupted the supply of Russian gas to the continent and exacerbated a crippling energy crisis, given Moscow typically supplied about 40% of Europe's natural gas.
Since the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, China has emerged as a leading buyer of Russian oil and gas, securing the commodities at steep discounts.
Moreover, Gazprom is now pouring money into the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline, effectively a replica of Nord Stream 2 with the difference that it's going into China. That project is priority number one for them, so if they can choose where they'd invest the money, they'd naturally gravitate towards the safer option," Katona said.