Norway has deployed a specialized vessel to inspect an underwater gas pipeline bound for Germany for security reasons following suspicions of sabotage last month on two Nord Stream gas pipelines between Russia and Germany, sources and data have revealed.
Norway, Europe’s biggest gas supplier, last week put its energy sector on high alert, deploying its navy and air force to patrol offshore facilities and stationing soldiers at gas processing plants on land following the explosions. of the Nord Stream on September 26.
The Havila Subsea, an oil service vessel equipped with remotely operated underwater vehicles, was deployed on October 5 to inspect the Europipe II gas pipeline that runs from the Kaarstoe gas plant in Norway to Dornum in Germany, data shows. Refinitiv Ship Tracking.
Jostein Alendal, CEO of Reach Subsea, which operates Havila Subsea, told Reuters the inspection was ordered by Equinor, which carries out pipeline inspections on behalf of offshore gas system operator Gassco.
“For security considerations, we cannot go into detail about the specific measures,” a Gassco spokesman said in an email.
An Equinor representative was not immediately available for comment, and the Norwegian military declined to comment on offshore pipeline inspections or other specific offshore security measures.
“Knowledge of these measures makes it easier for an actor to avoid them,” a military spokesman said in an email.
Europipe II is possibly Norway’s most important pipeline, said Tor Ivar Stroemmen, senior professor at the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy.
“A major interruption of the flow of gas to Germany could provoke political pressures that would change the dynamics of the current confrontation with Russia,” Stroemmen said.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, relied heavily on Russian gas supplies until supplies were cut off following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 658-kilometre Europipe II has a capacity of 71 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day, about a fifth of the total Norwegian pipeline exports.
The Swedish Security Service said on Thursday that an investigation at the scene of the two gas pipelines has strengthened suspicions of “serious sabotage” with detonations.
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