Protecting Offshore Energy Sources

The often fervent dialogue regarding generating energy typically breaks people into two camps. There are those who promote fossil fuel production, and those who favor green energy. Those who favor green energy are sometimes zealous in their arguments that the United States should eliminate fossil fuel dependence and rely only on green energy.

As this debate rages, what is often lost in the arguments on both sides is that regardless of the type of energy being extracted or generated, those platforms that are offshore, especially oil rigs, oil and gas pipelines, and wind farms, are vulnerable to anyone who wants to attack these sources in wartime, or just to make a political statement.

One need look no further than the suspected sabotage of Nord Stream gas pipelines that run from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea, or the more recent likely sabotage of a natural gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, to understand the vulnerability of sea-based energy sources.

While there have been major strides in the development and fielding of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and others, for the foreseeable future, the world’s energy needs will continue to be met primarily by oil and natural gas. Indeed, a Wall Street Journal article earlier this year, “Offshore Oil is Gushing Again,” noted that while just over 60% of available oil rigs worldwide were in use five years ago, today that number approaches 90%. Importantly, it is the offshore oil and gas industry that still provides a huge amount of United States’ energy.

Global tensions typically interrupt the transport of energy across the oceans. Therefore, protecting these offshore energy sources is a national security priority.

Read the article in the latest issue of Sea Technology here