NATO's Stoltenberg, EU's von der Leyen Travel to North Sea Platform
The heads of NATO and the European Commission flew on Friday to a North Sea platform bigger than the Eiffel Tower in a visit underlining Norway's importance for gas supplies since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Troll A platform extracts gas from Norway's biggest gas field. After a drop in Russian flows, the Nordic country last year became the largest gas supplier to the EU.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will discuss the protection of infrastructure and gas supplies to Europe with Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, and Equinor CEO Anders Opedal, Stoere's office said in a statement.
Security at Norwegian petroleum installations was increased after the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines on Sept. 26 in the Baltic Sea, with NATO allies providing military support.
In addition, NATO and the EU in January set up a task force to boost the protection of critical infrastructure in response to the Nord Stream explosions.
Norway's police security agency said in February that Russia would seek to gather more intelligence about Norway's oil and gas infrastructure as part of efforts to put pressure on European energy supplies.
Troll alone covered 11.3% of EU gas consumption last year, according to operator Equinor. The field accounts for one-third of daily Norwegian gas exports to Europe.
The gas from Troll, which is situated some 65 km (40 miles) offshore, is piped to a processing plant on Norway's west coast before it is piped again to the European Union and Britain.
The platform rests on four concrete pillars on the seabed and the overall structure is taller than the Eiffel Tower.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli, writing by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik and Angus MacSwan)