Russia Likely to Spy More on Norway's Energy Industry, Say Norway Security Police

©Lukasz Z/AdobeStock
©Lukasz Z/AdobeStock

Russia will seek to gather more intelligence about Norway's oil and gas infrastructure as part of an effort to put pressure on European energy supplies, the Nordic country's police security agency (PST) said in its annual threat assessment on Monday.

While Russia is "unlikely" to carry out acts of sabotage on Norwegian territory in 2023, this could change if Moscow's willingness to escalate the conflict with NATO and the West were to increase, PST said.

The assessment of threats against Norway is the first since the start of the war in Ukraine in February last year. Since then the NATO member has become Europe's largest gas supplier, following a drop in Russian gas flows.

"Norway's role as an energy supplier to Europe has assumed even greater security policy importance as a result of the war in Ukraine," PST said in its report.

Oslo has reinforced security at its oil and gas installations following the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines on Sept. 26, and is receiving help from NATO allies to protect them.

"We have seen the emergence of Russian ambitions to exert pressure on European energy security. PST, therefore, expects that in 2023, Russia will try to gather intelligence about most aspects of Norway's oil, gas and power sector," it said.

In October, Norway, which shares a border with Russia in the Arctic, put its military on a raised level of alert in response to the war in Ukraine.

PST also expects Russia to be interested in gathering information in Norway about NATO expansion plans to Sweden and Finland, which are neighbors to Norway, and to gather more information about the Arctic Svalbard archipelago.

Svalbard is under the sovereignty of Norway but Moscow has a settlement of Russian citizens on the islands under a 1920 treaty.

(Reuters - Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Additional reporting by Nora Buli; Editing by Terje Solsvik and David Holmes)

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