From the LawDog Files


*crosses self*

“Hail Mary, full of grace …”

Ok, the Nord pipeline incidents.

Sigh. I shouldn’t do this, but …

I call them “incidents” for a reason. I grew up in overseas oilfields. I try to, by training, observe everything from as objectively neutral a viewpoint as possible.

In my experience when anything involving energy-industry hydrocarbons explodes … well, sabotage isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. And honestly, when it comes to a pipeline running natural gas under Russian (non)maintenance, an explosion means that it’s Tuesday. Or Friday. Or another day of the week ending in “y”.

“But, LawDog,” I hear you say, “It was multiple explosions!”

Yes, 17 hours apart. No military is going to arrange for two pipes in the same general area to be destroyed 17 hours apart. Not without some Spec Ops guy having a fit of apoplexy. One pipe goes up in a busy shipping lane, in a busy sea, and everyone takes notice. Then you wait 17 hours to do the second — with 17 hours for people to show up and catch you running dirty? Nah, not buying it.

The Nord pipelines weren’t in use. To me, that means it’s time for maintenance! Hard to maintain pipes when product is flowing.

Pipelines running methane, under saltwater, require PMCS* quicker than you’d think, and more often than you’d believe.


That hooked me.  And LawDog, with his humorous writing style, delivers a terrific piece.   Here’s more about what I teased in the headline…

However, in this case involving a natural gas pipeline under the pressure of 300 to 360 feet (8 atmospheres to 10 atm.) of water, I’d like you to turn your eyes towards a fun little quirk of nature called “methane hydrates”.

Well, actually, I’d like you to meditate upon “hydrate plug”, but give me a moment.

Under certain circumstances of pressure, temperature, and water presence natural gas/methane will form solid hydrates, with concomitant amounts of fun.

For the Chinese definition of fun, anyway.

Keeping hydrates from forming is a constant battle, requiring vigilance, expertise, diligence, and constant water removal. If any of these things slack at any time — you’re getting hydrate formation.

The presence of solid hydrates in a pipeline can cause flow issues (causing cracks), destabilize the pipe itself (more cracks), and cause fires (bad. Very Bad), but the big issue (pun intended) is when you form enough hydrates that it blocks the pipe entirely (see: Hydrate plug, above).

A hydrate plug is one massive pain in the tuchkiss to remove, and removal of said hydrate plugs is not a task to be undertaken by idiots, rank amateurs, morons, the terminally unlucky, or stupid people.

The Recommended Best Practice to clear a hydrate plug is a vvveeerryyy slllooowww depressurisation from BOTH ENDS, SIMULTANEOUSLY.

How slowly, you ask? For a pipeline the size of Nordstream we’re talking weeks.

As the line reaches local atmospheric pressure heat is transferred to the plug from the environment, and the plug begins to melt, starting at the plug/wall interface.

However, if you are a national gas company with institutional paranoia, a Nationalised aversion to looking weak or asking for help, and a Good Idea Fairy fueled by vodka — well, you can depressurise the pipe from one end.

Go read it.  Yeah, it’s long.  Pour yourself a drink, get comfy and read it.  You’ll be a smarter person afterwards. 

Maybe now we know why Russia didn’t react to the Nordstream pipelines busting open by slicing up one of the transatlantic internet cables…  

And you could spend worse time than reading LawDog’s other entries.  Start here.  Prepare to laugh out loud.  I wish I had a tenth of his writing talent.


2 thoughts on “Lawdog Files: On the NordStream incident… ever heard of Methane Hydrates?”
  1. Personally believes Lawdog trashed himself with that story.

    Perhaps he’s never heard of timers being used with explosives before. Or if you like his theory he omits any talk about hackers or plant saboteurs.

    He clearly ignores the biggie which was the timing of the event made to coincide with both the elections in Ukraine as well as the opening of the Norwegian pipe line.

    Missed too were the ex Polish official saying “Thank you USA” as well as both Biden and Nulan both stating they had a way to handle Nordstream 1 & 2 if things did not go their way. Lastly was Blinken the other day pretty much confirming as having a hand in the explosions when he said, the explosion was beneficial to their cause. Which takes you back to who prospered from the explosions.

    Lawdog ignores all those things to have you believe it was all just happenstance and nothing else. Funny how the timing of his piece came out only after blame has been permanently placed onto the Biden Administration and their Globalist puppet masters. Pity he didn’t write it earlier when others were suggesting the same possibility. Then he could of been dismissed with them unless again your pointing at hackers or saboteurs.

    1. You are reading a lot into some random comments. An ex-polish official doesn’t have a clue what happened and doesn’t know it could have been a maintenance disaster. Blinken just said the obvious, Europe should never go back to activating these pipelines and the explosion took that off the table. And Biden/nulan comments before clearly they meant they had political power and used it because the pipelines were already shut down.

      There is no one with sufficient motive to blow up these pipelines. Russia lost a massively valuable asset. Ukraine and USA would have endangered a coalition critical to Ukraine’s survival if Europe finds them running special ops against them.

      Go back to Lawdog’s blog (if he’s raised his bandwidth cap to handle all the new traffic). IN a followup he posted the map of where the explosions occured, and they were at bends in the pipeline exactly where a methane hydrate plug would cause explosions.

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