Four professors and top officials at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim think Norway should protect its offshore oil and gas platforms and vast network of pipelines with an “underwater Coast Guard.”
Recent suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic “has shown that underwater infrastructure is vulnerable,” wrote professors Asgeir J Sørensen and Tor Arne Johansen, dean Olav Bolland and Eirik Sivertsen, head of a satellite program at NTNU in newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). They contend that Norway already has “a leading position” within advanced underwater operations using both remote-controlled- and autonomous submersible equipment or vessels, and should direct it towards special security measures on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
Norway has nearly 9,000 kilometers of underwater pipelines, and the NTNU quartet admits it’s not possible to fully protect all the infrastructure. They believe, however, that it is possible to use new technology to put pipelines and other undersea under surveillance at a fraction of the price of conventional mini-subs.
“We believe it’s time to discuss … .what can be put in use to raise our security and provide new opportunities to apply our technology from the offshore sector,” they wrote. “Norway should build an underwater coast guard based on the new opportunities that technology offers.”