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Nord Stream sues insurers for €400mn over pipeline explosions

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Nord Stream is suing insurers including Lloyd’s of London for about €400mn for refusing to cover explosions that destroyed gas infrastructure connecting western Europe to Russia, according to documents filed with the High Court.

The Switzerland-based company brought a lawsuit last month claiming that insurers “failed to pay” for damage done by underwater explosions that mangled and deformed the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Lloyd’s of London and Arch Insurance are listed as representative defendants on behalf of the multiple insurers on the policies.

Court documents show Nord Stream’s “preliminary and high-level estimate” of the costs to remove water from and stabilise the pipelines, undertake a repair and replace lost gas is between €1.2bn and €1.35bn.

The cause of the explosions, which took place in international waters in September 2022, has not been determined.

Russia was initially suspected of sabotage but has denied responsibility. Ukraine also denied involvement after media reports in the US and Germany suggested pro-Ukrainian operatives may have been behind the attacks.

Both Denmark and Sweden have dropped their investigations, saying they did not have enough evidence to charge anybody, leaving only Germany currently conducting a probe.

Nord Stream, owned by Gazprom, Wintershall Dea, Eon, Gasunie and Engie, said those involved were “unknown”.

The claim is among the largest filed with the High Court over the past year, according to litigation data analysis group Solomonic.

The case is being levelled against Lloyd’s of London among insurers that provided the so-called primary policies, which take the first losses from any event.

The second defendant is a group of insurers led by an arm of Bermuda-based Arch, which provided the so-called excess cover. Such policies typically kick in after the primary policies have paid out.

Nord Stream is arguing the explosions were a separate occurrence for the purposes of both sets of policies. The claim of €400mn is split evenly between the primary and excess groups. The company also claimed for about €3.7mn for a damage survey, plus other costs.

Lloyd’s of London and Arch declined to comment. Nord Stream was also contacted for comment.

Neither pipeline was in operation at the time of the explosions. Supplies in Nord Stream 1 were halted by Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 never came into operation after Germany cancelled its approval process.

Additional reporting by Richard Milne

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