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Norway regulator warns on risk of 'deliberate attacks' after drones seen near oil and gas fields

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Norway regulator warns on risk of 'deliberate attacks' after drones seen near oil and gas fields


'Number of observations' of drones/aircraft near offshore facilities

Warning comes amid heightened Europe-Russia tensions

Norway Europe's largest gas supplier amid Russian curtailments

  • Author
  • Nick Coleman
  • Editor
  • Alisdair Bowles
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Natural Gas Oil
  • Topic
  • Europe Energy Price Crisis War in Ukraine

Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority issued a warning Sept. 26 on recent sightings of unidentified drones near offshore oil and gas facilities, citing potentially heightened risk of explosions, helicopter collisions or of "deliberate attacks."

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In a statement, the PSA said oil and gas operators had "recently given warnings/notifications of a number of observations concerning unidentified drones/aircraft close to offshore installations" and urged "increased vigilance by all operators and vessel owners," underlining the duty to report any further sightings.

It added that all offshore oil and gas facilities are subject to an exclusion zone, usually extending 500 meters horizontally and vertically.

"Infringing a safety zone may be punishable by law. The police will consider whether to launch an investigation," the PSA added.

Security concerns have become elevated in Europe following threats of nuclear retaliation by Russia in relation to the Ukraine war.

Norway is generally seen as one of the world's most stable oil and gas providers. It is currently Europe's top oil and gas producer, producing nearly 2 million b/d of petroleum liquids from the North Sea and nearby waters along with almost 350 million cu m/d of gas -- around a quarter of European gas demand. The country's importance in energy terms has been elevated by the steep reduction in supplies of Russian gas via pipeline following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Flagship Norwegian crudes Oseberg, Ekofisk and Troll are part of the Platts Dated Brent benchmark, produced by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Since late-August the European benchmark TTF day-ahead gas price has fallen from extreme highs while remaining very elevated compared with year-earlier levels. On Sept. 23 the hub posted gains of Eur3.75/MWh on the day-ahead contract, closing the trading day at Eur173.25/MWh.

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