NATO Energy Security head: Cyber defense important for alliance members

Published 21.06.2016 00:28

NATO Energy Security Department head Michael Rühle said that the issue of cyber defense will have an important place on NATO's agenda, adding that nearly 50 percent of identified cyberattacks target the energy sector.

Rühle spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) about issues that will be addressed at the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8-9. He said the issue of energy security is crucial for all NATO alliance members.

Rühle stressed that NATO is in charge of raising strategic awareness about energy security, following developments that affect the security of the alliance in energy and providing training for both alliance members and partner countries about these issues.

Explaining that cyberattacks and terrorist attacks targeting critical energy infrastructure are among the issues that NATO addresses, Rühler said: "You will see at the NATO Warsaw Summit that cyber defense is one of the most important topics, the importance of which is continuously rising. From my point of view, cyberattacks continue to be one of the greatest risks to energy security."

Rühle said that cyberattacks could lead to serious damage in highly computerized energy distribution networks, citing that nearly 50 percent of identified cyberattacks targeted the energy sector. "Therefore, I think it is essential for countries, which are responsible for protecting their infrastructure, to make necessary investments in cyber defense," he said.

Evaluating that NATO alliance members satisfy their energy requirement mostly from Russian natural gas, Rühle pointed to the significance of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) projects. He said the two projects are a part of Europe's objective of diversifying its energy supply, which brings a special role for Turkey, adding that it is welcomed on many levels because of the wish to improve relations between Turkey and the EU.

The foundation of TANAP, which costs $10 billion, will decrease Europe's dependence on Russia and meet Turkey's ever increasing gas demand, was laid on March 17, 2015, with the participation of the presidents of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. TANAP's is expected to become operational in June 2018. TANAP will be the longest and widest natural gas pipeline constructed in Turkey and will bring employment opportunities. With the implementation of the project, natural gas produced at the Azerbaijani Şah Deniz 2 Natural Gas Production Site in the Caspian Sea, in addition to other sites located south of the Caspian Sea, will first be transported to Turkey and then onward to Europe, leaving aside the planned additions to the project. TANAP will be a part of the Southern Natural Gas Corridor, as it will connect with the South Caucasian Pipeline (SCP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

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