Pipeline explosion in Lithuania due to rupture, not sabotage
16 January 2023
A pipeline explosion near Lithuania’s border with Latvia on January 13 occurred as a result of a rupture and not because of an attack or sabotage. Lithuania's gas transmission operator Amber Grid said the explosion, which resulted in a large fire and the evacuation of a local village, happened due to a welding seam simply tearing open. Police had opened an investigation to determine whether the pipeline was damaged intentionally.
Representative image: Shutterstock
The explosion happened at around 17:00 local time in the Pasvalys district near the Lithuania-Latvia border. The explosion took place away from residential buildings and no injuries were reported, however a local village was evacuated as a precaution and nearby roads were closed.
Nemunas Biknius, CEO of the gas transmission system operator Amber Grid, said: "We regret this incident in the gas pipeline system. We immediately started to investigate the circumstances of the incident and ensure gas supply to consumers. At the moment, all our efforts and those of the responsible services are focused on containing the consequences of the fire and ensuring safety. We have immediately informed Government representatives, the Energy Distribution Operator (ESO) and Pasvalys city authorities about the situation."
The gas pipeline where the fire broke out is used to supply gas to the northern part of Lithuania and to transport gas to Latvia.
Following the repair of the damaged main gas pipeline and inspection of adjacent sections, gas supply capacity to Latvia was fully restored on January 16.
Amber Grid said it would send specialists to carry out a precautionary investigation in February of the entire length of the approximately 60 kilometres of gas pipeline built in 1980, where the incident took place.