Motiver for terroranslag mot norsk oljevirksomhet
This memorandum presents possible motives for terrorism and sabotage against the Norwegian oil industry, and also discusses what tactics and targets would seem more likely. Moreover, the general threat against Norway will be assessed initially. Norway has traditionally been a low-risk country for international terrorism. However, this situation is changing, as the world is becoming more globalised and due to the emergence of transnational terrorist networks. AlQaida has issued explicit threats against Norway, and radical Islamist networks are showing an increased interest for petroleum targets. This has been demonstrated by strikes against Iraqi oil terminals in April 2004, and against an oil tanker outside Yemen in October 2002. Al-Qaida considers the petroleum deposits in the Gulf to be the common inheritance of the Arabs, and bin Ladin has defended such strikes by arguing that they stop the ‘”plundering’” of Arab resources. Norwegian oil deposits are not part of the Arabs’ heritage, and should therefore be less exposed to attacks. Nevertheless, there is a certain risk that Norwegian oil installations might be targeted, as al-Qaida seeks to weaken Western economies and to increase oil prices. The reality of this danger is demonstrated by indications that Palestinian terrorists were planning to attack a Norwegian oil refinery in 1973 in order to increase the effect of the oil crisis. The Norwegian oil industry’s importance has increased considerably since then; and several big European countries now depend on Norwegian deliveries. The Norwegian oil industry might therefore become a target for terrorists who want to harm our European partners. Al-Qaida’s motivation to strike at the Norwegian oil industry is thus assessed to be low, but not negligible.