Stoltenberg and von der Leyen in the North Sea to discuss gas security
by Nora Bulley
TROLL FORUM, NORTH SEA (Reuters) – The secretary general of NATO and the president of the European Commission traveled to the North Sea off Norway on Friday to discuss gas supplies and infrastructure security.
Jens Stoltenberg and Ursula von der Leyen visit the Troll A platform, which operates in Norway’s largest gas field. The Nordic country last year became the biggest gas supplier to the European Union, following a decline in Russian flows.
The two officials discussed the security of Europe’s gas supply and infrastructure with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and Equinor CEO Anders Opedal.
Security at Norwegian oil installations has been tightened following the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea on 26 September.
Norway’s energy infrastructure is important but vulnerable because of its size, as it includes thousands of kilometers of gas pipelines as well as internet and power cables, Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Troll A.
“We obviously cannot protect every meter of this infrastructure all the time,” he said.
“But what we are doing is intensifying … the exchange of intelligence. We have strengthened our presence by increasing our military capabilities.”
“The goal now is to increase maneuverability and be able to react quickly if something happens,” said Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO and the European Union created an intervention force in January to strengthen the protection of critical infrastructure in response to the Nord Stream explosions. Its first meeting was held on Thursday, Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.
Troll alone covered 11.3% of EU gas consumption last year, according to operator Equinor. The field accounts for a third of Norway’s daily gas exports to Europe.
Gas from Troll is piped to a processing plant on the west coast of Norway before being piped again to the EU and UK.
(Reporting by Nora Bulley, Writing by Gwladys Fouché; Editing by Kate Enstringer, Blandine Heinault)