DEBATE: After recent weeks of observations of several drones flying within the platforms’ safety zone of 500 metres, it is startling that our military preparedness is not present to secure these in a proper manner.
- Rune Chr. Tollefsen
Defense sources believe it is likely that a state actor is behind it. The question is what is the purpose behind the activity, which obviously aims to conduct information gathering and mapping. Norway has now become Europe’s largest supplier of gas after Russia has closed the taps. The gas reserves in Europe are approx. 90 percent as we face a cold autumn and winter.
Shouldn’t we take action?
Their need for a stable gas supplier is striking. When Norway has now taken over the role as the largest supplier and at the same time discovers drone flights close to our oil and gas installations, it is strange that Norway does not take measures to secure these better. Putin has been shown to go after energy supplies to Europe and now Norway is very vulnerable to whether he wants to turn the screw even tighter to hit Europe.
On Saturday, a “severe” drone was observed near the Kristin field and on Tuesday, a new drone appeared which must have been less than 50 meters from the Heidrun platform, writes Bergens Tidende. Per Steinar Stamnes, head of the pedestal association in Equinor, says that one does not want to have unidentified drones at and around pedestal facilities. He refers in particular to the safety of the association’s members who fly helicopters to and from work. Stamnes does not want to speculate on which countries or organizations may be behind it, but he notes that there is a war going on in Ukraine that Russia is behind, and that the world view is currently affected by this. He wants us to try to get more information about vessels that are close to Norwegian installations in the North Sea.
Equinor’s group representative Bjørn Asle Teige says that the company’s representatives have an overview of all official notifications from Equinor to the Petroleum Safety Authority (Ptil). But according to Teige, they do not get to know whether these are friendly or cleared drone flights, for example Norwegian military or intelligence, which according to Teige would be ok. But if there are no confirmed and “friendly” flights, it is easy to start speculating, says Teige and adds that we can ask Nato for help to secure these installations because it is in their best interest that we can still supply gas to Europe.
The police on the unknown drones in the North Sea: – Keeping all options open
A security policy nut?
Researcher and author Cecilie Hellestveit is currently working on the book “Bad news from the Eastern Front” about Russia’s war in Ukraine. She believes that our continental shelf is very vulnerable to foreign interference as the world is developing. Hellestveit points out that the shelf is in the Norwegian economic zone, but not on Norwegian sovereign territory. The UN Covenant and the NATO Covenant apply primarily to sovereign territory.
We have observed unidentified drones at a few of our installations. The observations have been reported to the Norwegian authorities, writes Equinor’s press officer, Eskil Eriksen, to the website Aldrimer. The police say they are aware of the observations, and that they have good contact with the operator of the platforms and other government agencies. Beyond that, the police will not comment on the case any further at this time, according to Amund Preede Revheim, section leader for the North Sea/Environment in the Sør-West police district.
Drones are said to have been observed here: Johan Sverdrup, Gullfaks C, Snorre A, Gina Krog, Heidrun and Kristin. In light of a Europe at war where energy supplies have become a major power factor, it is in Norway’s and Europe’s highest interest to secure these installations in a sound and safe manner.
Published: 23 September 2022 20:00