NATO and EU heads visit North Sea gas platform

STORY: The heads of NATO and the European Commission flew to a North Sea platform on Friday (March 17) to discuss the protection of infrastructure and gas supplies to Europe.

After a drop in Russian flows since its invasion of Ukraine, Norway became the largest gas supplier to the EU.

Atop the Troll A platform, which extracts gas from Norway's biggest gas field...

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of keeping prices stable.

"Gas installations like the Troll platform are vital for our economies, for our industries but also therefore for our security because we have seen how (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin has tried to use energy as a weapon throughout the war against Ukraine and Norwegian gas has helped to respond to that and ensured that President Putin failed in his attempt to use energy as a weapon."

As Stoltenberg talked, a German Navy ship, a Norwegian coastguard vessel, a Norwegian military helicopter and a NATO maritime aircraft were patrolling near the platform, which is situated some 40 miles offshore.

Security at Norwegian petroleum installations was increased after the explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines on September 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.

Its first meeting took place on Thursday, von der Leyen said on Friday.

The gas from Troll is piped to a processing plant on Norway's west coast before it is piped again to the European Union and Britain.

Troll alone covered 11.3% of EU gas consumption last year, operator Equinor said.