– Doesn’t look like an amateur – V.G

- Doesn't look like an amateur - V.G
Illustration: The Kristin field in the Norwegian Sea, one of several locations where unidentified drones have been spotted. Press photo: Maritt Hommel / Equinor

Several unidentified drones were recently spotted on the Norwegian continental shelf. Equinor is keeping its cards close to its chest, while an expert has not ruled out that it involves intelligence gathering.

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There have been at least six sightings of unidentified drones within the safety zone of Norwegian bases on the Norwegian continental shelf, reports said. Stavanger Aftenblad.

Two of these were observed on September 17 near the Christine field and the Gina Kroc oil and gas field, respectively. On September 20, another drone was spotted less than 50 meters from the Hydran base. Stavanger Aftenblad writes this.

The Kristin field and Hydren site are located in the Norwegian Sea. Gina Croce is located in the North Sea.

There was a drone sighting around the Ringhorn base in the North Sea earlier this week, but it has not been confirmed as a drone.

It was not specified what types of drones were involved, or what the motives were behind the flights.

Further Never again And NRK Mentioned the matter.

Eskil Eriksen, Equinor’s spokesperson, writes in an email to VG that due to security concerns, they do not want to disclose details of the activities or the observations of the drones of which installations are not identified.

– We have observed unidentified drones in some of our installations. We take these incidents seriously and report observations to the Norwegian authorities, the Petroleum Safety Authority and the police. We are communicating with the authorities and they are following up on the observations, Erickson writes.

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NRK writes that the Sør-West police district has opened an investigation into the case.

Drone: On 30 December 2020 this DJI Matris drone was used in response to a quick clay landslide in Gjerdrum.

Potential intelligence gathering

Odd Einar Olsen, professor of social security at the University of Stavanger, tells VG that it is unusual to have so many drone sightings on the Norwegian continental shelf.

– If they’re spotted in multiple installations, you might start to wonder if someone is looking for something, but Olsen says that’s just speculation.

Professor: Od Einar Olsen says it is unusual to see so many drones in the North Sea.

Lars Peder Haga, an associate professor at the Norwegian Air Force College, tells VG it’s likely a hobbyist drone that someone took with them to the platform or to a nearby ship.

– The oil industry has a very established safety culture, so it seems a bit strange. Then I know that fishing vessels use drones to search for fish, but I don’t know how this is established in the North Sea, says Haga.

– Of course, there is also the possibility that someone is engaged in intelligence gathering and looking for details on the sites, but it seems amateurish to do this during the day at the height of the plane in question, which you can definitely see – but this can be done and we cannot rule it out, Haga says.

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More possibilities: Drones can take many different forms, says Lars Peder Haga.

– It’s not like amateur

Prof Olson explains that drones are a very new type of technology and authorities have set various regulations for it.

– In principle, you cannot fly to such installations without permission. As the technology continues to evolve and new areas of application emerge, the demands on drone pilots are getting better and better, Olsen says.

The professor suspects that the drones were sent by the Experienced.

– It doesn’t look like amateurs playing with their little hobby, says Olsen.

A solvable problem

Associate Professor Haga says the use of drones within the country’s borders is not unusual.

– Unidentified drones are frequently seen within the country’s borders in connection with military exercises. Once someone sees a drone, people often start to panic a little and report everything from lights to airplanes, Haga says.

Drones in the North Sea could also solve the problem, Haga believes.

– If you can tell something about which drone it is, you can also tell how far away it’s coming from, and then see what ships are in the area. With the right equipment, you can find the transmitter that controls the drone. Haga says this is a solvable problem.

Here’s the bird attacking a drone – watch the video:

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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