Impact Studies
Securing North Sea infrastructure from nation-state threats
Providing insight into vulnerabilities and actionable plans

Securing North Sea infrastructure from nation-state threats


About the client

Beneath the North Sea, there are thousands of kilometers of cabling and pipelines, used for different purposes such as data communication, electricity, gas, or oil transmission. In 2021, the Dutch Cabinet announced that there is a threat to the Dutch subsea infrastructure.

The threat to the North Sea primarily concerns activities that may indicate espionage, but possibly also preparations for disruption and sabotage. The primary responsibility for securing these cables and pipelines rests with the companies managing this infrastructure.

The opportunity

Nord Stream comprises a network of offshore natural gas pipelines that traverse the Baltic Sea, connecting Russia to Germany in order to supply natural gas to Western Europe. The funding for these pipelines involved a consortium of companies from Russia, Germany, France, Austria, and the Netherlands. On September 26, 2022, reports emerged of four explosions that targeted the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, causing three out of the four lines to become inoperable.

Following this incident, our clients faced a critical challenge to enhance safety and security in the North Sea. The incident, identified as sabotage by a state actor according to the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, posed a significant threat to operations in the area.

National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism: "The various national security interests are vulnerable and are substantially threatened and undermined by state actors."

What we did

Our approach began with an in-depth analysis of the threat state actor and it's intentions- capabilities- activities to achieve their strategic goal with operational means at the North Sea towards our clients interest (People- Assets- Information- Reputation). We projected these findings on the operational landscape in the North Sea, focusing on the client's activities. Through comprehensive workshops, we scoped the assignment and delved into identifying vulnerabilities.

Employing a combination of brainstorming sessions, document analysis, and leveraging geopolitical knowledge, we conducted a vulnerability analysis. Our findings were presented in a dashboard, pinpointing potential threats within a 1 km radius.

The outcome

Our collaboration continues to assist the organizations operating in the North Sea in bolstering confidence in their supply security and ensure the fulfillment of contractual obligations to their customers. Moreover, our efforts played an important role in preventing potential environmental and reputational damage stemming from geopolitical risks, thereby fostering a safer operational environment and improving business continuity. Our next step is to streamline a common intelligence picture.