Secret records revealed fears of terrorist attacks on oil rigs in the 1970s and ’80s

Secret records recently made public revealed that UK defence chiefs considered turning the North Sea into a minefield in the 1970s amid fears that terrorists would hi-jack a rig.

The declassified files showed that senior military figures believed Palestinian groups had “actively considered” targeting a western oil and gas installation.

At the time, the Black September organisation had recently kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

And security officials warned at the time that the Soviet Union had an “undoubted” capability to carry out an attack on the country’s North Sea interests.

Mining the waters and stationing armed troops on the platforms were discussed in draft strategies as ways to prevent any terrorist strike.

The plans were being drawn up around the time the first North Sea oil was coming ashore in the mid-1970s and are detailed in files at the National Archives in London.

More secret files from 1981 made public for the first time in 2011, also revealed that the UK Government feared Norway would not be able to cope if terrorists attacked an oilfield in the North Sea.

The previously unseen records showed senior British officials believed the Norwegians were “far from ready” to deal with a major incident offshore.

When the documents were unveiled, a terrorism expert said the likeliest threat to oil platforms would have been from countries such as Libya and Iraq, and groups that would have later become al Qaida.

In the 1980s, security was tightened up with restricted access to Aberdeen harbour and all those going offshore were properly regulated.

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