Well, that’s gone rodeo.

Folks are dropping in to my little blog from all over the world, and I feel that I should probably write something.

While I appreciate all of the attention, getting sky-lined like this is — quite frankly — nerve-wracking to me, so be patient.

A lot of first time Gentle Readers seem to be of the impression that I don’t think the Nordstream issues could possibly be deliberate. As I have stated more than once … deliberate direct action is a definite possibility — it’s just not the first thing on the list.

“Cock-Up Before Conspiracy” remains as valid as always. Transport of hydrocarbon energy sources is, to be honest, tricky and fraught with opportunities for oopsies. Hydrocarbon energy transport via undersea pipeline even more so. Add in Russian engineering and maintenance … well ‘God Blinked’ is going to be my #1 suspected cause for the ruptures; and ‘Knuckle-Draggers With Angry Putty’ as a solid #2.

Now, if forensic analysis shows signs of intentional detonation I will happily agree, and move on with my life, but … honestly, the CIA just isn’t that competent.

Sorry, Frank*.

Some folks seem to be a little crispy about that — and that’s ok. If y’all are keeping up with the comments section, you’ll notice I’ve been happily letting comments from people who definitely don’t agree with me through moderation. Fairly stringently don’t agree with me in several cases, but as long as you’ve got something to bring to the conversation, I’m good with it.

Case in point is Mr Dennis Adams. Mr Adams doesn’t fully agree with my hypothesis — fairly spicily so at first — but he brings a solid viewpoint to the conversation, and I value that. As should any other Gentle Reader.

Gentleman named Rod is another one. He also doesn’t agree with the hydrate hypothesis, but he does point out several other scenarios that fall under ‘God Blinked’ that hadn’t occurred to me, and now I have more things to research, as does anyone else who may be interested in this.

It’s a conversation. An opportunity to learn. The current world should have more of these.

Other comments, though, are going straight to the blacklist. If you’re commenting for the purpose of swearing at me and calling me foul names you’re just wasting your time; you’re not adding anything of actual value, and there are plenty of other places on the Internet that will be happy to wade in the muck with you. Just, not here. I’m email-blocking you for the first gush of verbal diarrhoea; and blocking your IP for the second.

(Although I let the comment calling me a “muttonhead” through — it has a quaint charm, and when I first read it, I blew Coke Zero through my nose during the gigglefit.)

This isn’t my first brush with fame — in the Internet gun community I’m fairly well known for the “Gun Rights Cake Analogy” — but this seems to be the most-wide ranging exposure I’ve had so far. I’m sorry to disappoint any new readers, but this is a fairly sedate blog most of the time, and hopefully will return to being sedate after the hullabaloo dies down.

(Incidentally, if you’d like to buy a copy of the Guns Rights Cake poster, go here.)

With that, I return you to the regular slate of Author Blogging.


*We joke that there’s a government agent specifically assigned to read the blog and watch the Livestream. We have named this mythical agent “Frank”, and joke that he binge-drinks and cries in the shower at the end of a day dealing with us.

Time for Le Grand Volant*
Orange tag!

50 thoughts on “Well, that’s gone rodeo.”

  1. About the best theory so far. Ukraine has shown us the myth of Russian maintenance. Should Gazaprom be any different?

    1. I’m thinking… not? They’ll do the minimum they’ve got to – because that’s what they’ve gotten by with before. Where’s the advantage to working harder? This is assuming that they haven’t sold off machinery and supplies that are needed for the job – like the Russian military did.

      There’s just something off about all that. Corruption’s hamstrung the feared Soviet/Russia military. Makes me wonder if it wasn’t as screwed up back even before the USSR dissolved.

      1. Of course it was. They’ve actually admitted that during the nuclear stare-down with the US they had nothing. They were driving long tubes around the country to convince our intelligence (ah. “intelligence”) agencies they had nukes. It worked, too, which tells you we’ve had an intelligence problem for a long time.
        (And no, I don’t think they literally had NO nukes, but they had ALMOST no nukes.)

        1. They effectively beat the snot out of us in the ‘Intelligence Wars’ section of the Cold War.

          Hell, last time I looked, projects they started in the late 50’s were STILL bearing fruit, despite running unattended for years.

  2. Is Frank’s last name Johnson? We have an Agent Johnson who screens/scans our regular Saturday night zoom calls. Shades of Dilbert’s “Half our guys went blind and the other half are in counseling, we’d like to weaponize you”…

  3. Lawdog, I came across your blog as a referral from another that I have grown to appreciate their sober viewpoint on things, which I value highly. You strike me as a chap to enjoy having a drink with and I am pleased to have found you good sir. I look forward to making this a regular stop.

    1. LawDog’s a good read.

      I invite you to use the search magnifying glass in the upper right and look up two posts from the early days that are my personal favourites: “Don’t make me hurt you, Bubba” and “The Pink Gorilla Suit”.

      1. You’re obviously a very intelligent guy, as I had the same thought on Nordstream. Combine Russian engineering expertise and careful maintenance with Russian corruption and what could go wrong? (For same reasons I expect catastrophe in China come the next major earthquake.) You have a new reader. Thanks

        1. You mean like concrete portions of the Three Rivers Gorge Dam moving significantly out of place even before the reservoir was half full?

          And all the tofu-drek stuff. But China is #1!

      2. First one in with the obligatory “Pink Gorilla Suit” story reference.

  4. I feel like an old timer having been here for the ratel story. The lead in to this last kerfuffle was well written as always.

  5. It sometimes seems like every damned site/blog/platform on the internet has been taken over by medieval witchburners , bound and determined to prove that their particular witch is the one needs chaining to the pile of faggots.

    Cheers to you, Ian, and all those on here who are still trying to stay impartial.

  6. Through all this, the legacy media has been talking to everyone except the people who work in the industry. They really, really believe that the government agencies are knowledgeable. The last thing they want to find is that they been fed little more than propaganda for years and the all powerful state has become little more than an idiocracy.
    Politely suggest that they go forth and multiply with themselves.

    1. They will actively avoid people with knowledge. They’ve got a narrative – and they’re not going to let anything get in the way of it.

      (Like when Bush was supposedly AWOL from the Texas Air Guard. They looked at his points/attendance records, but didn’t have a clue about how the Guard or the AF Reserve handles attendance. At the time, I was handling attendance records for my AF Reserve unit – and I could see that by the regs he had a good year for attendance purposes. That’s not what the folks who believed he was AWOL wanted to hear, though. They had a narrative – and facts be damned, they were going to stick to it.)

  7. I appreciate the work you put into this. You might be right, might be wrong. But it is a plausible explanation and a damn site better than I’ve seen elsewhere.

  8. Agent Frank, huh? I wouldn’t worry – not unless you find out there’s an S on the end.

    Serious question, Lawdog (and other commenters): A couple of sources have said that the explosion(s) that ripped up the pipelines registered at about the equivalent of half a ton of TNT. Does that make any difference to your hypothesis of “industrial accident”? What kinds of accidents could generate that level of explosive force?

    1. No. Go to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and start watching the videos. I would recommend starting with the Texas City video. The amount of hydrocarbon in that pipe in case of an accident could very easily generate that much force.

      1. Texas City was the result of a chemical reaction, the decomposition of ammonium nitrate. The problem with explaining a yuuuge energy release in an underwater methane pipeline is that chemical reaction possibilities are hard to come up with.
        Clathrate formation isn’t going to do it. Water and methane can react, but not at pipeline temperatures and the reaction is endothermic ( sucks in energy, doesn’t release it).
        Air in the pipeline? Maybe, but in two pipelines at once? And, without flow, it’s hard to get an ignition source.
        It’s just been announced that a (Swedish maybe?) undersea research vessel will try to get a look at the damage. More data are always welcome.

        1. Inert compressed gas has plenty of energy in it. After all, what is an explosion but the sudden release of pressurized gas? The Nord Stream pipelines had thousands of cubic feet of gas under thousands of PSI of pressure, more than sufficient to create a boom that would register on seismographs nearby.

    2. Wolfwalker.
      Fair question, but no.
      Two reasons.
      1. There are enough similar accidents which have released comparable amounts of energy without requiring a large explosive device to set them off, to show us that a lot of explosive is not necessary.

      2. Even if it were sabotage, the likelihood that a saboteur would use bulk amounts of conventional explosive is low. Large packages make keeping it secret harder, they are more easily found before they go boom, and they are not necessary.
      Every significant military has explosive devices that can cut through armoured vehicles, and many of them are man-portable or small enough to be fired through a howitzer.

      Explosive-Formed Penetrators are not technologically complex and have been around since before WW2. They were first used in the petroleum industry, and bomb-makers in the Middle-East have been making improvised EFPs capable of disabling Abrams Tanks.

      I don’t consider sabotage the likely culprit, but the “big, dumb bomb” is not how I would do it if I was trying to damage a pipeline.

      Cheers… Peter.

      1. But it seems to have been big dumb bombs.
        Does that point to a non-government actor?
        Militant environmentalists?

        Who else?

        1. It doesn’t seem to have been big dumb bombs, that’s just what people with little experience with industrial accidents have been assuming.

    3. More like required reading for several officers. I like this man’s style.

      (Agents are people who don’t get a paycheck from governments. Officers are the ones who do. Exception: FBI, whose Agents are very Special.)

      The Russians are well known for using dolphins. My entry in the anthology would involve Russian naval spetsnaz, zhonggui, US Navy divers (who AREN’T SEALS DAGNIT!) and the Special Boat Service all trying to figure out who is trying to protect the pipeline and who is trying to blow it.

      Punchline: all are trying to protect it. Cue industrial accident.

  9. My favorite are the ones showing up to whinge about the blog formatting. “Italics? Really, Mr LawDog, italics are so bourgeoisie…”

  10. This scenario would make for a fun anthology. Every author gets a go at “how it happened”. Could range from serious to hilarious. For example what if multiple State Actors were on scene each with knuckle draggers having emplaced their angry putty. And then God Blinked. Accusations about jumping the gun, etc.

  11. FWIW the various petro-engineer with experience in Russia sorts I’ve seen this floated by (including here – https://www.timworstall.com/2022/10/russain-maintenancve-and-nordstream-pipelines/ ) almost all seem to think it’s a plausible explanation. Those with more experience in Russia seem to consider it more likely…

    According to the BBC the gas has now stopped bubbling out so the Danes & Swedes can get divers and ROV cameras down there to see what the hole looks like.

  12. MonkeyWerx has a video (2022/09/30) where he shows an unregistered military Boeing Poseiden P-8 (sub hunter and recon/surveillance) flew into the area above the explosions just before they happened and then flew out just after.

    According to Wikipedia the USA has about 12 of those.

    No other planes were in the area at that time.

    Here’s a link. Time index ~13:30.
    ht tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfpw9I01J0o&t=810s

    Notice the UT0 time code of the flight in the bottom right. It’s 2am. According to this NPR article, the first explosion happened about 2:30am Swedish time and the second about 7am.
    ht tps://www.npr.org/2022/09/27/1125401980/nord-stream-leaks-explosions-russia-natural-gas-sabotage

    1. I’ve seen video of blue-skinned aliens riding giant flying lizards around rocks floating in the sky.

      About as likely as a military aircraft engaged in hush-hush , super-sensitive, gotta-be-deniable attacks on the supply lines of a friendly country,…. loitering over the scene of the crime with its transponder turned on.

      1. ALL of the information he presents in his videos is open source. If you download the software (SkyGlass) and learn how it works then you can see the exact same things he presents in his videos. The location information for the planes is crowd sourced. Learn about SkyGlass and how it works and you’ll be able to verify the truth of it.

        Here is a blog post were he explains in detail his findings which includes lots of information from subscribers to his YT channel.

        Blog post:

        Origianal video which shows Poseiden P-8 flight path:
        Time index 13:30, duration about 2 minutes
        Here’s a link. Time index ~13:30.

  13. “Cock-Up Before Conspiracy”

    Boardrooms can make poor decisions too. What was the value of the compressed gas sitting in NS1 & NS2? How much of that could be pulled back by reducing line pressure from 100 bar to ~20 bar? Did management order SIMULTANEOUS extraction of saleable material from BOTH pipelines?

    The legitimate question with the accident theory is, “Why would both go around the same time?” A single Senior Management instruction for NS1 and NS2 joins up the timing nicely.

    PEACE 😇

  14. If it was deliberate, I think Russia a more likely candidate than anyone else.

    But lacking your experience with the biz, at whatever level, once someone tipped me that you’d offered one possible explanation on the accidental side of things, I linked it immediately, and told anyone interested to consider it.

    The problem, in both cases, it that it runs counter to some people’s earnestly-held prejudices, and it seems losing a pet theory is every bit as heartbreak-inducing as losing an actual pet.

    And then the less adaptable simians begin mining their diapers for something to throw, and it’s a rodeo.

    Thanks for your OP on the topic. It was only 200 IQ points smarter than anything on tubevision, and as one commenter pointed out, the MSM seems to have decided to avoid talking to anyone with any pipeline subject-matter expertise whatsoever, lest it cast unwelcome light on their wild speculations, and cost them ratings shares and points.

    And we can’t be having any of that, because they can never let facts get in the way of a good yellow-journalism screed, in whatever direction.

    Best Wishes

  15. Regardless of who or what done it, the US is trying very hard to appear guilty.


    How it happened may not be as important as how we react afterwards. Used to work at a plant, people would always assume they knew how an incident happened and would react. An Engineering Manager would present how it really happened a couple of weeks later after the investigation. The management would not change their response actions even if shown to be wrong because their scenario could happen too.

    We are stuck on stupid.

  16. I would bet that the new readers did not get your “angry putty” line.
    For those that are wondering, there is Silly Putty and its use as a toy for kids and there is Angry Putty also known as C-4 explosive putty.
    C-4 has been known as Serious Putty.

  17. Dumbfumblery before deliberation is quite appropriate in many (if not most) situations. My experience is from the other end of the energy situation, distribution. The amount of PMCS there leads me to believe it is much the same, if not more, on the generation and logistics side.

    As to the looky-loos, well, that’s just the nature of humans I guess. For much the same reason as traffic tends to slow down around the more interesting looking accidents, too.

    Y’all have a good one, those reading the comments.

  18. Still trying to get my head around why if there was some type of external explosive used to damage the pipeline why the gas that is escaping did not ignite. Water depth so great the gas cooled before reaching the surface and oxygen? Ignited gases cooled by the water before it reached the surface? Something else? Obviously, at least to me, if an external explosive device was used to damage a surface pipeline the escaping gas would ignite, probably explosively. I just don’t know what happens is a deep water incident, but it does make me lean toward the mechanical failure scenario such as LawDog has put forward.

    1. First, assuming explosives were used, and this was a deliberate act, which I currently doubt….

      Fire requires three things. Heat, fuel and oxygen. With explosives, all those ingredients are self-contained (heat=detonator, fuel+oxygen=chemical compounds of the explosive itself), and once the explosion has occurred, the oxidizers are now used up.

      Any further combustion would have to get oxygen from somewhere else. At the bottom of the ocean, the only possible natural source would be dissolved oxygen in the water, not really usable in this scenario. No way for the gas to ignite. The gas is already cold, from being at that depth and temperature. By the time it floats to the surface where it finally reaches free oxygen where it could burn, it no longer has a heat source.

      The pressure of the gas itself in the pipe is plenty to rip open the pipe if the initial puncture is made by explosives. The sudden pressure wave would easily be sharp enough to register on seismographs.

    1. I’m convinced the only countries with any incentive to blow up the pipelines would be the US and UK. The reason is like Cortez ordering his ships burnt: because if the pipelines stay intact, then EU countries will be falling all over themselves to cut a deal with Russia as soon as the temperature drops much below freezing. The US is the main suspect because our leaders most want the war in Ukraine to escalate (so their stock in Lockheed and Raytheon will go up), while the UK has enough gas of its own that it can do without Russian supplies.

      As for Russia doing it to themselves, that is just silly. Not only would they love to be receiving surrender offers from NATO members (whether they intend to accept any or not), but there is no reason they would want to wreck a costly pipeline when they can simply turn it off at their end. And have done so.

      1. Ratman.

        You are ignoring the costs to the US and Britain if they are found out…. and the benefits to Russia of blowing it up.

        Like all conspiracy theories, it ignores the data supporting alternatives.

  19. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

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