After drone sightings on Norwegian oil drilling platforms in the North Sea and the discovered leaks in the Baltic Sea gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2, Norway is concerned about its energy infrastructure. The Norwegian government has increased the alert, according to a statement from the Norwegian oil production regulator PTIL. The systems at sea and on land should be better protected against sabotage.
The PTIL had issued a warning this week after some sightings of unidentified drones. In the days before, oil platform operators had reported that flying objects had entered the security zones around oil platforms. In a recent statement, the authority writes that objects of different sizes have increasingly been sighted, especially in September. These are now being investigated by the police.
Vessels navigating Norwegian waters are called upon to be more vigilant. The PTIL met with companies in the oil and gas industry for an extraordinary security conference on Thursday to discuss the current incidents. It was also about the damage to the Baltic Sea pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2, which were discovered this week and which are believed to be due to sabotage.
warnings for years
Under Norwegian law, companies that are active on the Norwegian continental shelf in the North Sea are themselves responsible for the safety of their facilities. They would have the knowledge and resources themselves to be able to fulfill this obligation. They worked closely with the security authorities, the statement said. Norway’s Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Terje Aasland, confirmed that there is generally a high level of awareness of operational safety on the continental shelf.
Norwegian security authorities have been warning for several years that Russian secret services could obtain information about Norway’s oil sector, Aftenposen newspaper reports. Although the police regularly practice how to react to attacks on oil and gas facilities, attacks on pipelines were not included in the scenarios.
The Norwegian security expert Ståle Ulriksen had already called for stronger security precautions at the gas plants in February shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The damage to the pipelines could correspond to a pattern of “unaccountable actions” that Russia has employed since annexing Crimea in 2014 and for which it accepts no responsibility. According to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK, Ulriksen said Norway was not prepared for such acts of sabotage as on Nord Stream 1 and 2; How likely such attacks are, he did not want to assess.
In 2019, 47 percent of natural gas imports into the EU came from Russia, and 28 percent came from Norway, according to an analysis by the University of Cologne in March of this year. 97 percent of the natural gas consumed in Germany was imported in 2020. 10 percent of oil imports to Germany in 2021 came from Norway, 34 percent from Russia. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck visited Norway in March this year to talk primarily about increased imports of liquid gas to Germany. Norwegian natural gas comes to Germany via the Europipe I and II pipelines.
Imports from Norway are therefore very important for the gas storage level in Germany, which is currently 91.5 percent. In August, it was said from the north that exports to Germany could not be expected to increase from there.
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