Norway brings in Home Guard to secure key oil and gas infrastructure
In light of the escalating security crisis, the Norwegian Home Guard (Heimevernet) has started guarding critical oil and gas facilities in Rogaland, Vestland, and Møre og Romsdal.
In a press release on Monday evening, Norway's Ministry of Defence pointed out that the country is working on ramping up security both at sea and on land.
"Security around the oil facilities on land has been strengthened by the (presence of the) Home Guard. We are also in contact with close allies and partners about cooperation on the safety of Norwegian offshore oil and gas installations," State Secretary Bent-Joacim Bentzen said.
Furthermore, Norway also offered to assist Sweden, Denmark, and Germany in investigating the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage.
Increased security at oil and gas facilities
From Monday, soldiers from the Home Guard are supporting patrolling and guarding activities at oil and gas facilities in Rogaland, Vestland, and Møre og Romsdal.
"We're patrolling (facilities), working with guards and security personnel, as well as assisting the police with things that come up," operations manager for the Home Guard's task force at Rogaland Jon Talgø told the newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad.
The purpose of the Home Guard's involvement is to assist the police in averting and preventing unwanted incidents in Norway.
The Home Guard's soldiers are well trained in securing and guarding key civil and military infrastructure, they can be deployed at short notice and be on assignment for a long time – as was the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Home Guard assisted the police with border control activities.
Police requested assistance
During the weekend, the Western Police District asked the Armed Forces for assistance in securing the gas plant at Kollsnes.
On Sunday, Norwegian local media reported that the Home Guard would contribute to the safety of the Kollsnes facility.
According to Gustav Landro, chief of staff in the Western Police District, no direct threats have been directed at the facilities. However, there is still a need for more visibility and police presence in the area, the newspaper Bergens Tidende reports.
Security at oil and gas facilities in Norway has been strengthened following the Nord Stream pipeline leaks and several drone observations near key infrastructure.