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Norway is posting soldiers from its Home Guard to protect energy infrastructure as Western Europe's largest oil and gas producer, and its Scandinavian neighbors are increasing security following the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea last week.
As of Monday, soldiers from the Home Guard provide increased security at petroleum facilities in the counties Rogaland, Vestland, and Møre og Romsdal, the Norwegian Armed Forces said today.
The deployment of the soldiers comes after Norwegian police requested assistance from the Army to prevent incidents. The Army is ready to post soldiers at more facilities if the police request it, the Armed Forces said.
Securing and guarding critical civil and military infrastructure is one of the Home Guard's core tasks, the Army says.
Last week, the Army said that the Norwegian Armed Forces are present and conducting patrols with assets on land, in the air, at sea, underwater, and in cyberspace, without going into details about the mission due to the sensitive matter.
Four leaks, two in each of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, were discovered last week after gas started leaking earlier this week 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 early this month, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.
The EU believes the gas leaks from the pipelines in the Baltic Sea were the result of a deliberate act of sabotage and not an accident or a mere technical failure.
Last Thursday, Denmark and Sweden said in a letter to the UN Security Council - shared by Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde - that their investigation had found so far that "at least two detonations occurred underwater" at the Nord Stream pipelines.
"The magnitude of the explosions was measured at 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter Scale, respectively, probably corresponding to an explosive load of several hundred kilos," Denmark and Sweden said.
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.