Europe Becomes Serious About Improving Energy Security

The sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines last week is providing an impetus for European nations to increase security in the Baltic Sea and other areas becoming increasingly vital to Europe’s efforts to meet its energy demands. The Baltic is not the only region where security concerns are being addressed. Nations in other areas of the continent are taking steps to secure energy networks. From Italy to Norway efforts are underway to implement new security measures before winter arrives. Russia and the West continue trading accusations over just who was responsible the explosions that have effectively closed the pipelines. While the true identity of the guilty party, there is no denying that Europe’s energy nodes and supply routes are vulnerable to further sabotage, hacking, and other types of attacks aimed at degrading or closing them down.

Norway is adopting new measures to protect its energy infrastructure in the aftermath of the pipeline explosions in the Baltic. One of these steps is tightening border controls as the number of military-aged young men crossing into Norway from Russia rises in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s activation of 300,000 reservists. This situation offers an opportunity for Russia to clandestinely inject teams of intelligence officers or special operations teams into Norway to create an option for future operations against Norwegian energy infrastructure. With Norway now being Europe’s biggest gas supplier, this measure is not surprising. Oslo has already deployed additional military and police forces to increase security around offshore installations and facilities ashore.

Other factors are at play as Europe strives to increase security of its energy and infrastructure elements. The European Union and NATO are both getting into the act with military assets and other supporting measures. The good news is that Europe is waking up to the threat its energy markets and facilities.

The bad news is that the threat is very real and not likely to diminish in the coming weeks and months.

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4 thoughts on “Europe Becomes Serious About Improving Energy Security

  1. Mike, I never considered that Russia would use the outflow of men into other countries to plant special operators or intelligence agents in those countries.

    Gives me (greater) pause when I consider the situation at our southern border. Up to now my primary concern with our southern border has been narcotics and narcotics related criminals. You have to wonder who else is coming in via the open border.

    Back to Europe, how do you protect underwater pipelines and transoceanic cables in several thousand feet of water? Maybe more importantly, what countries have the capability to disable a pipeline or cut a cable? That has to be a very exclusive club.
    Ed

    • Yeah, Ed. Textbook move, using a relatively open border to insert special ops teams or intelligence people. I think the Norwegians realized this could be a problem too and that’s why they’re tightening up border controls.

      Exactly. Our southern border is open to anyone and we’re not paying any attention to who is coming in. Could prove to be something we regret down the line.

      Good question about how to protect the underwater pipelines and cables. Honestly, I don’t know. As far as who has the capability to disable a pipeline or cut a cable? Any nation with quiet, preferably nuclear powered submarines and commandos trained to undertake missions like that. The US, Britain, maybe France, maybe China, and Russia. Small and exclusive club, really. 🙂

      • French subs, at least their SSBNs, have a quiet reputation, and their frogmen are known for taking direct action (just ask Greenpeace). The question is whether they have a sub (or more) configured for deep-sea special ops. If memory serves, that’s limited to the US and Russian navies.

        Speaking of Greenpeace, anybody with a cadre of deep-sea divers, state-actor or otherwise, has the ability to reach infrastructure down to about 330 feet with nothing more than a support surface ship. Not-so-coincidentally, that’s the depth where Nord Stream was compromised.

      • I’d presume France has at least one sub configured for that type of mission. Probably not a missile sub though, but definitely a capable attack boat.

        Oh, Greenpeace or another even more militant eco-terrorist group could definitely pull it off. And they wouldn’t think twice about the consequences.

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