Oil and gas infrastructure is quickly becoming a principal target for terrorists, rogue organisations, hostile state and non-state actors, and criminal enterprises. The recent attacks in the Middle East - the drone attack on the Saudi Aramco pipelines and the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman - validate a precedent (and unfortunately techniques, tactics, and procedures for those with malicious intent) of using non-complex attack methods to create complex problems for owners/operators of energy and natural resource assets.
C Derek Campbell, CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc.
As is the case in the Middle East, Africa is seeing an increase in attacks on critical energy infrastructure and natural resource assets: assaults on a gas processing plant, pipeline vandalism, rebel attacks on oil fields and refineries, and ransomware attacks.
One of the major concerns generated by these attacks is the catastrophic impact on the supply of energy products and services across Africa. “The local, regional, and global demand for the energy and natural resource assets owned by African nations is constantly growing. Most nations depend on the availability of supply of their natural resource assets to generate economic value for their respective societies. The same is true for the power supply they generate from their critical energy infrastructure assets which create off-take opportunities – locally, regionally, and globally," said C Derek Campbell, CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc.
“If this availability of supply is attacked and disrupted, secondary and tertiary negative effects will severely impact companies, industries, and nations relying on this supply of energy products and services from African energy and natural resource owners/operators."
Impact on economies
Another major concern is the impact that these events have on economies that rely on these assets to create revenue. “As with impacts on supply, security threats – physical and cyber – pose an immense danger to all major sectors of the oil & gas, power & utility, and natural resource economic value chain. This is largely due to sector overlap and interdependency.
An attack on an upstream asset can cause operational challenges midstream that can cause financial catastrophes at the downstream end.” The same is true in reverse – a downstream attack can disrupt midstream operations and bring upstream activity to a halt for a producer. “The same scenario can be applied to power assets – generation, transmission, and distribution. These types of disruptions can not only negatively impact jobs at the local market level but can also have disastrous impacts on the central banks of African nations who rely on the revenue generated from its critical energy infrastructure and natural resource assets," he said
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