Nord Stream leak: Russia 'destroying own kit' says Seely
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The energy industry is reportedly working with UK authorities to ensure crucial infrastructure is not vulnerable to interference. It comes after Baltic Sea blasts forced the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines to start leaking out gas on Monday in what was a suspected act of sabotage. MI5, Royal Navy and RAF may now be called upon to provide extra support as Government agencies check to see how well-equipped the industry is to deal with any potential interference. The agencies are coordinating with industry to decide if new security arrangements at offshore and onshore sites are needd.
While the explosions at Russia’s Baltic Sea pipelines, in waters covering both Swedish and Danish territory, was far from British shores, the incident has raised questions as to whether another act of sabotage could take place closer to home.
The pipelines, designed to send Russian gas to Germany, may not be connected to the UK, but this has not stopped the authorities from thinking about crucial UK assets, which are always needed but could be particularly important amid an energy crisis.
Now, trade body Offshore Energy (OEUK) said it has been in touch with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss how infrastructure can be kept safe, the Guardian reports.
The CPNI is a government agency that sets out to limit the vulnerability of key UK assets, such as nuclear power stations and datacentres, to a number of different kind of threats including terrorism and sabotage.
However, the OEUK stressed it isn’t concerned over sabotage reports, and is taking a “precautionary” and “proportionate, pragmatic response”.
Mark Wilson, safety director at OEUK, told the Guardian: “We are not concerned but we are making sure, should anything come up. There is no evidence of any drones or unusual activities around the areas of concern.”
It comes after a British defence source revealed that underwater drones may have been used in the suspected attack on the Nord Stream pipelines this week. The source told Sky News that the alleged attack was likely “premeditated” and may have involved mines being dropped and later detonated, triggering a blast the caused the systems to leak out gas.
This has prompted Norway’s oil safety regulator to warn oil companies to keep an eye out for unidentified drones near Norwegian offshore oil and gas platforms as they could threaten accidents or attacks.
The West has pointed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the incident, despite the fact the pipelines belong to Russia.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak tweeted: “Gas leak from NS-1 [Nord Stream 1] is nothing more than a terrorist attack planned by Russia and an act of aggression towards the EU. Russia wants to destabilise the economic situation in Europe and cause pre-winter panic.”
Russian warships, submarines and naval vessels were spotted in the waters near the leaks. CNN reports Russian submarines were seen in a separate sighting last week near the site.
In a separate incident, satellite images from June revealed two Russian warships were sailing nearby.
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One expert warned a critical pipeline linking Norway (which supplies 60 percent of the UK’s gas) to Britain, could be targeted by Russia in a similar fashion.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, John Baldwin, Managing Director of CNG Services said: “It’s obvious that Putin was getting ready to invade Ukraine from the middle part of 2021, so it’s possible then he could have put some mines down there around the pipe, which sort of detonated.
“The worry is obviously that he could have put similar mines around the Norwegian gas pipelines that come to the UK and the UK pipelines and cables.
“That’s almost like the message isn’t it, ‘I’ve mined my own pipes in international waters, but I might as well have mined your pipes and you’ll never find those mines. If you keep helping Ukraine one day they might go and you won’t have any gas at all.'”
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