Infrastructure:Electric,Gas & Water / Security Newswire

Algeria Attack Uncovers Fresh Energy-Sector Security Concerns

The deadly attack on an Algerian natural gas complex will do little to discourage the drive for lucrative energy exploration in northern Africa, experts say, but the attack is forcing companies to increase security after largely ignoring risks of operation in the remote desert region, The Associated Press reports.

Spanish, Norwegian and British oil companies quickly evacuated workers from Algerian energy facilities after the well-coordinated hostage-taking by Islamic militants, which resulted in chaos during an Algerian raid, AP reports. While energy companies are reluctant to comment, experts say the financial bounty in the region is too high to scare off large firms, such as BP or Norway‘s Statoil.  

Alison Lyall, a security analyst at Harnser Risk Group in Norwich, England, and the author of a recent report for the European Commission on evaluating the costs of security, says companies in the exploration and production industries – even those operating in risky areas – have paid little attention to the issue.

“There is a strong enterprise culture which prides itself on taking risks,” she says in the AP article. “I can show you that the percentage spent on security on very high-value assets is shockingly low.”

Last Wednesday’s assault on Algeria’s Ain Amenas gas complex by a multinational band illustrates the danger posed by Al-Qaida and its offshoots, AP reports. In the wake of the attack, energy companies will have to study operations for possible flaws and upgrade contingency plans, the article states.

Algeria has taken a strong tack against the terrorists, AP reports, as the country rejects offers of help from Britain, the U.S. and others in order to pursue a typical tough and uncompromising response alone. BP and Statoil were compelled to entrust their employees’ lives to the Algerian security forces, and Algeria insists that it has the know-how to ensure the security of energy plants, the article says.

Other companies – including BP and Royal Dutch Shell, whose employees in Nigeria have been the targets of kidnappers and militants – would not comment on security arrangements in Algeria, but Ted Jones, CEO of specialist evacuation company Northcott Global Solutions in London, noted companies alarmed by the attack are scaling up their physical security, the article notes. Jones also says that those companies may be moving from unarmed to armed operations, and shifting nonessential staff to safer locations.

He also told AP that companies can become complacent after a period of safe operation, then change course when an incident occurs: “Suddenly, something like this happens and they realize they’re much closer to the danger … and there’s a sort of panic response, which is perfectly natural.”

But terrorist attacks on the energy and critical infrastructure industry are not new – in 2004, a terror attack at an oil industry compound at Khobar, Saudi Arabia, resulted in another hostage-taking incident and the deaths of 22 people.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Security Magazine. 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASIS 2013 Product Preview

ASIS International 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, September 24-27 in Chicago, Illinois, will include an exhibit hall packed with innovative security solutions. Here are some of the products that will be shown at ASIS this year.

Podcasts

Virtualization and Data Center Security: What You Need to Know for 2014

Data centers are increasingly becoming the center of the enterprise, and data center and cyber security is following the same path for security departments. According to Justin Flynn, a consultant at the Burwood Group, the virtualization of data centers allows enterprises to scale more easily and faster, with a smaller footprint.

However, hosting enterprise data in the cloud can make intrusion detection more difficult – how can enterprise security leaders team up with other departments to keep aware of cyber risks and traffic, and physical and data compliance during the virtual transition? How can CISOs and CSOs discuss cyber threats with the C-Suite to get the resources they need? And how can the proper infrastructure test and verify possible malicious attacks? 

More Podcasts

Security Magazine

2014 November cover of Security Magazine

2014 November

Don't miss our 2014 Security 500 issue, with rankings, data on sectors, and other security benchmarkings, all contained within this November 2014 edition of Security magazine. Also, (re)learn the basics of lobby security and how to make the highest impact retrofit for your budget.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Travel & the Ebola Risk

Are you and your enterprise restricting travel due to Ebola risks?
View Results Poll Archive

THE SECURITY STORE

comptiahighriseproductphoto
CompTIA Security+ Certification Study Guide
CompTIA's Security+ certification is a globally-recognized, vendor neutral exam that has helped over 60,000 IT professionals reach further and higher in their careers. The current Security+ exam (SY0-201) focuses more on being able to deal with security issues rather than just identifying them.
More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook 40px 2-12-13 Twitter logo 40px 2-12-13  YouTube  LinkedIn logo 40px 2-12-13Google+

Vertical Sector Focus: Critical Infrastructures

criticalhomepagethumbFrom terrorism to vandalism, it’s preparedness, response, training and partnerships. Learn about some of the critical security issues facing this sector.

Visit the Critical Infrastructure page to read more.