After the attack on the two Nord Stream pipelines linking Germany to Russian gas, Norway deployed a specialist vessel to carry out inspections on the subsea natural gas pipeline to Germany due to safety concerns, a source privy to the project told Reuters.
Europe's main gas supplier has put its energy sector on high alert after the 26th September Nord Stream blasts. The Norwegian government has deployed its navy and air force to patrol offshore facilities and place soldiers at the onshore gas processing plants.
According to the Refinitiv vessel-tracking data, the government deployed the Havila Subsea, an oil service vessel, to survey the Europipe II pipeline from the Kaarstoe gas plant in Norway to Dornum in Germany. The Havila Subsea oil vessel is equipped with subsea vehicles operated remotely.
The Chief Executive of Reach Subsea (REACH.OL), which is in charge of Havila Subsea, said the inspection was ordered by Equinor (EQNR.OL), which is mandated to carry out pipeline inspection tasks on behalf of offshore gas system operator Gassco.
In an email, a Gassco spokesman said they could not give many details about the specific interventions the firm has undertaken for security purposes.
Equinor affirmed that the security had been heightened for the installations and infrastructure on the Norwegian Continent Shelf (NCS), and preventive measures relating to the pipeline network had been taken. However, the company also admitted that it is mandated to conduct pipeline surveys on behalf of Gassco but would not reveal much due to security issues.
Norway's military also refused to comment on the offshore pipeline surveys or other offshore security interventions that the military had undertaken. However, according to the military spokesperson, giving more knowledge about the measures taken may lead to the actor getting the information.
Commander Tor Ivar Stroemmen, a senior lecturer at the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, said Europipe II is possibly the most significant pipeline in the country. Stroemmen reiterated that a major interruption of gas flow to Germany could lead to political pressures changing the dynamics of the ongoing standoff with Russia.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, relied heavily on Russian gas supplies from Russia until supplies were cut after Russia invaded Ukraine.