The number of unmanned aircraft near offshore platforms increased in September, energy workers reported
Norway’s offshore energy operators reported an increasing number of unidentified drones near their platforms in the days leading up to the apparent sabotage of the Russian Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines.
The Norwegian Petroleum Authority held a meeting with members of the country’s oil and gas industry on Thursday and warned them that recent reports indicated “increased drone activity” over the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).
“These craft have been of various sizes, and their presence has increased – especially in September,” the agency said, adding that the drone sightings are being investigated by Norwegian police.
In a mail dated Friday, the agency warned Norway’s maritime and aviation authorities that energy operators on the Norwegian continental shelf had “recently issued warnings/notices of a number of sightings of unidentified drones/aircraft near offshore installations.”
Three days after the letter was sent and about 1,000 km south of the Norwegian continental shelf, a leak was reported along the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, followed by two leaks a day later along Nord Stream 1, all near the Danish island of Bornholm.
As of Thursday, a total of four leaks had been discovered along the two Russia-to-Germany gas pipelines, according to the Swedish Coast Guard.
Sweden and Denmark told UN Security Council on Thursday “at least two detonations” equal to “several hundred kilos” of TNT took place at the sites of the leaks. Without identifying a perpetrator, the two Nordic nations wrote that “all available information indicates that these explosions are the result of a deliberate act.”
While the Ukrainian government and some US savvy has accused Russia of attacking its own pipeline, Moscow has suggested Western involvement. “We already have some material that points to a Western trail in organizing and carrying out this terrorist attack.” The director of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, told reporters on Friday.
US President Joe Biden said in early February that the US would do so “the end” Nord Stream 2 about Russian troops entered Ukraine, told a reporter “I promise you, we will be able to do it.” In addition, the US-led NATO alliance conducted military exercises involving underwater drones near Bornholm in June, while US military ships spotted near the island last week.