Europe boosts energy security amid sabotage allegations | Russo-Ukrainian War

Norway has announced it will receive help from the UK, Germany and France to patrol the seas around its oil and gas platforms, following major leaks blamed on the sabotage of gas pipelines under -sailors from Russia to Europe.

Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines burst this week, draining huge volumes of gas into the Baltic Sea off the coasts of Denmark and Sweden.

The European Union said it suspected a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage, while Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the United States and its allies of blowing up the pipelines.

The attacks prompted Norway, Western Europe’s largest oil and gas producer, to deploy its navy, coastguard and air force to bolster oil and gas security.

“We are in dialogue with our allies regarding an increased presence in Norway [offshore] sector and said yes to contributions from Germany, France and Britain,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said Friday at a press conference.

He stressed that Norway had no indications of direct threats, but it was nonetheless prudent to step up security.

“In this situation, it is safe to have allies,” Stoere said, without specifying the level of assistance the NATO member country would receive.

A tour of the Sleipner field in the North Sea, a major source of gas to Europe, was scheduled for Saturday. “I will get a briefing and meet the employees on the platform. They are many and they are important,” he said.

Norway has become an increasingly vital partner in Europe, increasing gas production to supply around 30% of gas demand and becoming the largest single source of gas supply.

However, its oil, gas and hydropower supplies are largely produced offshore and depend on a network of undersea pipelines and cables.

To ward off possible attacks before the next winter months, European countries decided on Friday to secure their energy networks, with Italy stepping up naval surveillance on pipeline routes and German network operators reinforcing line security. transmission.

Commercial blame

Putin denied sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, instead blaming “Anglo-Saxons” in the West for what he described as an attempt to “destroy Europe’s energy infrastructure”.

Speaking in Moscow at a ceremony to annex four regions of Ukraine to Russia, he said “those who profit from it have done so”, without naming any specific country.

The United States has long opposed both pipelines and has repeatedly urged Germany to shut them down, saying they increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia and decrease its security.

US President Joe Biden said the blasts were an act of sabotage and that divers would be sent to verify “exactly what happened”.

“This was a deliberate act of sabotage and the Russians are spreading misinformation and lies. We will work with our allies to get to the bottom [of] exactly, precisely what happened,” Biden told reporters.

The burst pipes caused two methane leaks off Sweden, including a large one over North Stream 1 and a smaller one over North Stream 2, and two leaks off Denmark.

In a letter to the UN, the two Scandinavian countries said the explosions that shook the Baltic Sea before the huge methane leaks “probably corresponded to an explosive charge of several hundred kilos”.

The Integrated Carbon Observing System, a European research alliance, said “a huge amount of methane has been released into the atmosphere”, adding that this is the size of an entire year’s methane emissions for a city the size of Paris or a country like Denmark.

NATO warned on Thursday that it would retaliate to any attacks on critical infrastructure in its 30 member countries and joined other Western officials in citing sabotage as the likely cause of the damage.

Denmark is a member of NATO and Sweden is in the process of joining the military alliance. Both say the pipelines were deliberately attacked.

Moscow has called for a thorough international investigation to assess the damage and asked for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council scheduled for Friday.