Norway accepts European military aid to secure oil sector

Norway's prime minister said Friday the country, which has become Europe's biggest supplier of natural gas, had accepted military contributions from France, Germany and Britain to secure its oil and gas sector.

Pictured is Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Støre
File Photo: Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 22, 2022. (Photo by Tomothy A. Clary / AFP)

“We are in discussions with our allies to increase the (military) presence in the Norwegian sector and have accepted German, French and British contributions,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told a press conference, following the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

His comments came days after four leaks were discovered in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, which bring Russian gas to Europe.

The leaks were caused by underwater explosions corresponding to hundreds of kilogrammes of explosives and look like a deliberate act, a Danish-Swedish report said Friday.

“I understand that people are worried about the consequences that the situation in the Baltic Sea may have and that something similar may happen to the oil installations,” Store said.

“We have no indication that there are any direct threats to the Norwegian oil sector,” the Norwegian leader added.

Following the Nord Stream explosions and leaks, Norway had already said it would beef up security around its oil installations, amid allegations of sabotage.

“The government has decided to put measures in place to increase security at infrastructure sites, land terminals and platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf,” Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Aasland said in a statement on Tuesday.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.

On Friday, Støre said that two Norwegian Coast Guard vessels had been diverted to patrol near oil platforms and that the area was also being monitored by a maritime patrol aircraft.

The Norwegian prime minister met several European leaders and the head of NATO on Friday, and is expected to visit the Sleipner oil platform in the North Sea on Saturday.

Norway, as well as Britain, France, and Germany, are all members of the NATO military alliance.

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Energy prices in Norway dip to a two-year low 

The weekly energy price in Norway is at its lowest level since 2020 due to a large amount of recent rainfall, the latest figures on Norway’s electricity supply revealed. 

Energy prices in Norway dip to a two-year low 

The Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) has published its latest figures on the filling levels in Norway’s reservoirs. 

A large amount of rainfall means that the country’s hydroelectric reservoirs are at an above-average filling rate ahead of the winter. 

“The large amounts of rainfall last week helped to increase reservoir filling, increase power production and reduce the price of electricity. After several weeks of low power production, net imports and a lot of rainfall, the degree of filling in large parts of the country is now above normal for the time of year,” Inga Nordberg, director of the NVE, said in the latest weekly report by the NVE

Over the past seven weeks, the filling rate in southern Norway has increased by over 22 percentage points. 

Fuller reservoirs have led to increased power production and lower energy prices. The result of this is the lowest weekly energy prices recorded in Norway for over two years. Last week energy prices in southern Norway, where prices have been high for over a year, averaged 28 øre per kilowatt hour. 

However, it isn’t all good news. Analysts expect energy prices to rise sharply by the new year. In January, the price is expected to reach around 4 kroner per kilowatt hour, according to Gert Ove Mollestad from Montel, which monitors the European energy market. 

“We must probably expect twice as high electricity prices this winter compared to last year”, he told Norwegian broadcaster TV 2