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Friday, May 25, 2007

NATO offers assistance to oil and gas producing countries in security measures

16 May 2007 - ARA News - NATO is talking to oil and gas producing companies and countries about providing sea-borne rapid reaction forces to combat attacks on facilities, hostage taking and piracy, a senior NATO official said May 14. Jamie Shea, director of policy planning in the office of the NATO secretary-general, said the likely measures would involve operations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. "In NATO, we are looking very actively at using our maritime resources ... to see how we can link up with oil companies," Shea said at the conference in London. Shea said he had discussed the issue with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and London-based BP Plc, the world's second and third largest Western oil companies by market value, respectively. While the companies were beefing up their own security measures, they were also keen to receive help with intelligence, Shea said. NATO is also in talks with Qatar about how it could help secure the Gulf state's large liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. LNG is gas cooled to liquid and transported under pressure in specially constructed tankers. LNG facilities are seen as a particular security risk because of the pressurized gas. NATO is not yet in talks with Saudi Arabia but may be prepared to help there as well, Shea said. Other areas in which NATO could help included fighting hostage-taking in Nigeria where workers are being seized from oil facilities on an almost daily basis and piracy in Asia

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