By KJETIL MALKENES HOVLAND
OSLO -- Norway should review security at its domestic oil
and gas facilities and other critical infrastructure after a
terrorist attack against an Algerian gas plant operated by
Statoil and BP, the country's minister of petroleum and energy
The country may stop short of deploying armed guards at its
facilities, but all methods of enhancing security should be
considered, Ola Borten Moe told Dow Jones Newswires in
He was speaking following an update to Parliament by Norway's
Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, on the Algeria terror attack
a week ago, which may have taken the lives of five Norwegian
employees of Statoil.
"This time it was Algeria. The next time it could be us," Mr.
Stoltenberg told Parliament.
Mr. Moe's comments illustrate how the attack in Algeria,
which caused the deaths of at least 37 foreign workers and was
of a scale and ferocity not previously seen on oil facilities
in that region, has forced a broad reappraisal of energy
industry security in other countries.
Norway has several key oil and gas facilities along its coast, such as
the Slagentangen refinery operated by ExxonMobil in
southern Norway and Mongstad on the west coast, which hosts a
Statoil-operated refinery, an oil and gas terminal,
and a gas-fired power plant.
There are several other coastal facilities that are key to
maintaining Norway's oil and gas exports to Europe, including the Sture oil
terminal and the Kollsnes and Karsto gas processing plants in
the west, and the Snohvit liquefied natural gas plant in the
Norway is the third-biggest gas exporter in the world, after
Russia and Qatar, but has fallen out of the top 10 list of
global oil exporters, according to consultancy Wood
Currently, only fences and sometimes unarmed guards are
there to prevent terrorist attacks that could potentially halt
the flow of Norwegian gas to the UK and European markets.
Security at Norwegian oil and gas facilities is a
responsibility shared between the companies operating them,
police and the government, Mr. Moe said.
The offshore union SAFE has criticized the government for
the slow response time of the country's special forces. Norway
would strengthen its police and emergency response units, said
Asked whether it was realistic for Norway to place armed
guards on all its key oil and gas facilities, Mr. Moe said: "I
am not convinced that armed guards on all critical
infrastructure is the first thing we'll do."
Armed guards would be a very different way of thinking of
security, that Norway is not used to, "but we shouldn't be
naive either," he said.
Asked whether he instead wanted to build more physical
barriers around Norway's refineries and terminals, Mr. Moe
said: "We'll have to get back to that."
Mr. Moe was primarily addressing security on onshore facilities. Norway has many offshore
oil and gas platforms, situated very far out into the North
Dow Jones Newswires