Thor Kristoffer Nielsen further strengthens Agenda Risk with expertise in geopolitical risk, particularly within the maritime domain

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report for 2023 introduces the term “polycrises” to describe the contemporary global challenges. This term refers to interconnected crises that collectively yield greater consequences than if they were to occur in isolation.

As geopolitical crises become more prevalent and international systems grow more interconnected, the likelihood of propagation and interaction increases. This dynamic contributes to heightened complexity and unforeseen dynamics, exacerbated by non-linear and transboundary causal relationships that give rise to substantial uncertainty.

Commercial shipping, a global industry, is frequently exposed to geopolitical crises. Over the past three decades, international shipping has doubled, constituting roughly 90% of global trade’s cargo transportation. The maritime sector itself can act as a conduit for the propagation of polycrises due to its global nature.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine shattered illusions of a Europe immune to war. While signals of Russia’s intentions were present, Western nations possess a tendency to misinterpret these signals, maintaining optimism against all odds. A similar analogy can be drawn with the pandemic; a situation many anticipated but were unprepared to face adequately. What scenarios might unfold in the South China Sea, and how might they impact various segments of maritime activities?

Strategic crisis management initially involves prevention or mitigation of crises, followed by equipping organisations to confront and manage the aftermath. For many, this includes capitalising on upside risk. The development of realistic crisis scenarios enables strategic leaders to make purposeful decisions. Such scenarios should relyi on thorough information gathering and analysis to generate relevant predictions for decision-makers.

  1. February 24, 2022, will be remembered as the day Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine— but hopefully also as the day that marked the realisation in Norway and the West of the need for sustained investment in protection. Security considerations extend beyond governments; all businesses must contemplate cost-effective strategies to safeguard their assets and vulnerabilities.

The war in Ukraine intensified an already complex geopolitical landscape, underscoring the imperative for improved maritime protection. The significance of safeguarding critical offshore infrastructure became evident with the sabotage of North Stream 1 and 2 pipelines on September 26, 2022. The safeguarding of Norwegian oil and gas infrastructure is pivotal not only for national revenue but also for the energy security of the entire European continent.

Critical infrastructure protection extends beyond oil and gas. Både nederlandske og svenske myndigheter har meldt om russisk aktivitet rettet mot havvindprosjekter. Given the substantial maritime transportation of imports to Norway and Europe, both ports and vessels could become vulnerable targets in times of crisis.

All actors within the maritime domain must conduct comprehensive analyses to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities within their value chains. To facilitate informed assessments, Agenda Risk has enlisted one of Norway’s foremost experts in maritime threats and geopolitical analysis, Thor Kristoffer Nielsen.

Thor Kristoffer boasts more than 15 years of strategic analysis experience in the Defence sector, holding unique insights into threats to the maritime, shipping and oil and gas domains. He holds a master’s degree in Global Security from the UK Defence Academy (2005), where he wrote his thesis on Militant Threats against the Petroleum Sector, and has completed numerous intelligence and security courses, both in Norway and abroad. He is currently completing a master’s degree in Emergency and Crisis Management at Nord University.

In his master’s thesis, Thor Kristoffer focuses on the optimal development of relevant and realistic scenarios concerning geopolitical polycrises for strategic crisis management in international shipping.

We eagerly anticipate offering Thor Kristoffer’s expertise to our clients and look forward to his commencement at Agenda Risk on August 1, 2023.