Belgium will strengthen energy infrastructure to ensure supply security
The Belgian Council of Ministers on Friday approved a preliminary draft law to strengthen the security of critical gas, electricity and oil infrastructure, reports the country's Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen, Flemish green party).
"The war in Ukraine has shown us that energy infrastructure has become a potential target for sabotage. Such acts can have dramatic consequences for the security of gas, electricity and oil supplies, but also for our economy and the environment. It is therefore essential that governments, relevant authorities and critical infrastructure operators work together to ensure the security of our critical infrastructure," said Van der Straeten.
The preliminary draft law amends the 2011 law on the security and protection of critical infrastructure in the Belgian energy sector. It requires operators of critical infrastructure in the energy sector to carry out internal and external audits in order to verify that the measures of their internal security plan have been implemented.
The audits are mainly support and control mechanisms to assist operators. They will allow for any necessary updating of internal security plans in consultation with the country's General Directorate of Energy.
Over the past year, Belgium's energy minister has significantly increased the level of physical and cyber security of the country's energy infrastructure. In October, following the designation of new critical infrastructure in February 2022, the minister increased the number of critical services operators from three to thirty-three.
That same month, following the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the minister asked the General Directorate of Energy to immediately carry out additional inspections, especially on Belgium's gas infrastructure in the North Sea. The General Directorate of Energy also launched an awareness campaign for all sectors.
In addition, Van der Straeten allocated an additional budget of 1.2 million euros for energy infrastructure security to reinforce the staff of the General Directorate of Energy. The preliminary draft law will now be submitted to the Council of State.
Walloon Vice-Minister President Willy Borsus, Bastogne Mayor Benoit Lutgen, Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten and Walloon Minister for Climate, Mobility, Infrastructure and Energy Philippe Henry during the inauguration of the 'EStor-Lux' battery park in Bastogne, Belgium in 2022 © BELGA PHOTO ANTHONY DEHEZ