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The European Union has stepped up security measures and protection of its critical energy infrastructure following the sabotage on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last autumn, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the North Sea Summit late on Monday.
“We know that our critical infrastructures are under threat,” von der Leyen said.
The EU has improved preparedness and coordinated responses at EU level to protect critical energy infrastructure, the EC president added.
The EU is currently working on a stress-test program to identify weaknesses and increase preparedness, von der Leyen noted.
Early this year, the EU and NATO launched a task force to enhance the protection and resilience of energy and other critical infrastructure. The EU, NATO, and western countries have increased surveillance and defense capabilities following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.
Gas leaks in each of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were discovered at the end of September 2022 from the infrastructure just outside Swedish and Danish territorial waters in the Baltic Sea.
Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation after Germany axed the certification process following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely in early September, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.
Traces of explosives were found near the sites of the explosions, Sweden said last November, noting that the incident was “gross sabotage.”
Earlier this month, Mats Ljungqvist, the prosecutor leading the Swedish investigation, told Reuters that the investigation into the sabotage considers the involvement of a state actor as the “absolute main scenario,” but it would be difficult to determine who did it.
“The people who did this have probably been aware that they would leave clues behind and probably took care so that the evidence would not point in one direction, but in several directions,” Ljungqvist told Reuters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.