OSLO — Norwegian police have placed drone detection systems on offshore oil and gas platforms to investigate recent safety breaches, newspaper VG reported on Tuesday, part of a wider security ramp-up following damage last week to the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
Oil companies in recent weeks have reported a jump in sightings of unidentified drones, and Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority on Sept. 26 warned of risks of accidents or even deliberate attacks.
Benedicte Bjoernland, the head of Norway’s police directorate, told VG the sensors were deployed to identify any illegal drones and also as a deterrent against anyone seeking to use them in the first place.
The police directorate declined to say how many of the more than 90 Norwegian oil and gas fields had been equipped with drone detectors.
“We do not want to say more about this because we do not want to reveal our capacity to potential opponents,” Tone Vangen, head of emergency preparedness at the police directorate told Reuters in an emailed statement.
Norway, Europe’s number one gas supplier and a major global oil producer, in the last week deployed its navy, air force and soldiers to patrol offshore petroleum fields and onshore terminals in response to the Nord Stream leaks, which some countries have blamed on sabotage.
Oslo announced on Friday it would also receive assistance from Britain, Germany and France in offshore patrols.
Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines burst on Sept. 26, draining gas into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark and Sweden. Seismologists registered explosions in the area, and police in several countries have launched investigations.
Norway’s prime minister on Saturday visited an offshore platform to help calm concerns among workers over the drone sightings and the Nord Stream leaks, although the government has said it was not aware of any specific threats.
Reporting by Nora Buli and Terje Solsvik.