NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the Troll A offshore natural gas platform off the west coast of Norway on Friday (17 March 2023), together with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Equinor CEO Anders Opedal.
“We have seen how President Putin has tried to use energy as a weapon throughout the war against Ukraine. And Norwegian gas has helped to respond to that, and ensure that President Putin failed in his attempt to use energy as a weapon,” Mr Stoltenberg said. He added that gas installations “are vital for our economies, for our industries, but also, therefore, for our security.”
NATO has been working on the protection of critical infrastructure for years. Following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline last September, NATO Allies have stepped up their military presence in the region. Ships and maritime patrol planes from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1, led by flagship FGS Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, were in the area during the visit, having just taken part in exercises Joint Viking and Join Warrior. NATO has also recently created an undersea infrastructure coordination cell to map vulnerabilities, and coordinate efforts between NATO Allies, partners, and the private sector. A new NATO-EU taskforce on resilience and critical infrastructure protection has also been established, and met for the first time on Thursday.
The joint visit with President von der Leyen and Prime Minister Gahr Støre demonstrates the unity between NATO and the EU at this critical time, and the shared commitment of both organisations to boost the resilience of our societies, infrastructure and supply chains. After going down the platform shaft 303 metres down to the sea floor, they wrote “We are secure together” on a gas pipeline in a symbolic gesture.
The Troll A platform is operated by the Norwegian state-owned international energy company Equinor. Last year, the Troll gas field provided more than 11% of the European Union’s gas consumption. /BGNES