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Fundamentals of Energy Infrastructure Security: Risk Mitigation in the International Environment
Petroleum Economist, The, September 2005
The world's most comprehensive single source of intelligence on physical security issues in the global energy sector.This all-encompassing new report examines threats to the energy industry from vandalism, terrorism, low-intensity conflict and war. It provides a guide to effective risk-mitigation techniques for energy companies operating in difficult security environments and includes the only single-source compilation available of historical and current energy infrastructure security challenges and incidences in 40 countries and energy producing regions.
This unique work, the result of more than a decade of on-the-ground research, will help companies and governments pool information about energy sector attacks around the world and significantly enhance the ability of companies to make accurate threat assessments, optimise security planning and protect facilities more effectively.
Written by Paul Hueper, an expert on global comparative energy infrastructure security issues who has assisted both governments and companies in meeting energy security challenges.
Part 1: Overview of Global Energy-Infrastructure Security
Energy security: a worldwide problem
- The cold war
- Low-intensity conflict
- New terrorist threats
- The changing nature of energy- infrastructure security
Threats and motivations
- Vandals and saboteurs
- Criminal activity
- Low-intensity conflict
- Trans-national conflict
Weapons and tactics
- Development of guerrilla strategies
- Guerrilla tactics
- Guerrilla attacks on energy infrastructure in Colombia
- Guerrilla and terrorist weapons: regular and improvised
Energy-company operations in high-risk areas
- Lessons learned
Part 2: Energy Infrastructure Vulnerability
Energy infrastructure vulnerability overview
- Oil and gas infrastructure
- Oil and gas pipeline vulnerability
- Offshore infrastructure vulnerability
- Tanker security: war, piracy and terrorism
- Electricity-infrastructure vulnerability
Oil and gas infrastructure: upstream, downstream and export-facility vulnerability
- Geophysical-survey equipment and drilling rigs
- Oil and gas wells
- Upstream and downstream processing facilities
- Oil-storage facilities and tank farms
- Oil and gas export infrastructure
Oil and gas pipeline vulnerability
- Pipeline operation and design
- Products-pipeline considerations
- Pipeline security considerations
Offshore oil and gas security
- Vulnerabilities of offshore infrastructure
- Factors affecting offshore security
- Offshore risk-mitigation measures
Tanker vulnerability: war, piracy and terrorism
- Zones of conflict
- Piracy: a threat to global shipping
- LNG tanker security concerns
- Risk mitigation
Electricity infrastructure vulnerability
- Power system disruption
- Vulnerability overview
- Generation infrastructure vulnerability
- Substation vulnerability
- Transmission and distribution network vulnerability
Part 3: Risk Mitigation
Developing a risk-mitigation strategy
- Threat assessment
- Physical security and facility hardening
- Cost-benefit analysis
- The host government role
- Incident response capability
- Personnel security
- Community relations
- Environmental response
- Developing an integrated security plan
- Inventorying assets
- Identifying vulnerabilities
- Compiling threat data
- Diverse threat profile
- Capability a key factor
- Making an assessment
Physical Security of Energy Infrastructure
- Perimeter security
- Electronic monitoring and intrusion detection
- Hardening of infrastructure assets
- Pipeline surveillance and monitoring
- Pipeline communications security
Conducting a cost-benefit analysis
- The cost of deterrence
- Making cost-benefit decisions
- Advance planning is cost-effective
The host government's role
- Government responses around the world
- Host-government security challenges
- The reality of host-government response capability
- Host-government/company relationships
Developing surveillance and incident-response capabilities
- The government's role
- Post-incident investigation
- Company response plan
- Incident-repair response
- Kidnapping threat
- Ensuring personnel security
- Security in the field
- Security in exploration phases
- Pipeline spread security
- Global experiences
- Key aspects of community-relations programmes
- Security benefits
- Real world issues
- Environmental issues and security
Developing an integrated security plan
- Threat assessments are for real
- What is the real cost?
- Preparing for the worst
- Picking the right team
- Host-government liaison
- Community relations
- Developing an integrated security plan
Maps and illustrations
Part 4: Country Profiles
- The Caspian region
- Congo (Brazzaville)
- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
- Former Yugoslavia
- Iran-Iraq War
- Myanmar (Burma)
- Papua New Guinea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South China Sea
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- United States
Despite the heightened popular interest in energy infrastructure security – influenced in part by the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001 – mitigating physical security risks in the world's energy producing regions is a challenge that governments and companies have grappled with for decades. Ensuring the safety of energy infrastructure can be a challenge, whether it is in lower risk countries in Europe or North America, or in high-risk operating environments, such as those in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia.
Even with the increased attention given to this subject, there is often a lack of appreciation of the extent to which attacks on energy facilities have occurred in the past. This knowledge gap means that lessons learned in a given country cannot be analyzed and adequately applied to the development of risk mitigation strategies for companies and host governments facing security problems in other parts of the world.
The world of energy infrastructure security goes well beyond assessing the risk of a terrorist attack in the United States, FARC and ELN attacks on pipelines in Colombia, community disturbances in the Niger Delta, and personnel security concerns in Iraq. In many instances, for example, knowledge garnered from historical pipeline attacks in Pakistan or Guatemala is not conveyed to operations in Sumatra; experience with personnel security in Assam is not applied to kidnap prevention in Ecuador or Chad; and analogues to successful community relations strategies in PNG are not used, where applicable, in oil provinces such as Nigeria, Myanmar or Yemen.
This report is intended to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of energy infrastructure security. It is an endeavor to add to the industry's knowledge base on energy infrastructure security issues and attempts to bridge the gap between the security side of the energy business and its operational, engineering, financial counterparts.
With in-depth analyses of the types of threats (e.g., vandalism, terrorism, low-intensity conflict and war) and technical vulnerabilities to upstream and downstream oil, gas and electric power operations, the report provides a comprehensive strategic guide to developing an effective strategy to mitigate security risks to infrastructure and personnel in the global energy sector. It offers an overview of effective risk-mitigation techniques for energy companies operating in difficult security environments and includes the only single-source compilation available of historical and current energy infrastructure security challenges and incidences in 40 countries and energy producing regions. This unique work – the result of more than a decade of on-the-ground research – will help companies and governments pool information about energy sector attacks around the world and significantly enhance the ability of companies to make accurate threat assessments, optimise security planning and protect facilities more effectively. The report is divided into four parts, with a separate section that includes country and regional maps and photos illustrating key points related to good energy infrastructure security.
Part I provides an overview section that addresses the nature of the global energy infrastructure security challenge, the threats posed by various types of hostile elements, and the weapons and tactics frequently used in attacks in high-risk operating environments in Latin American, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. Salient examples of recorded attacks on energy infrastructure are used throughout this section.
Key aspects covered include:
1. The motivations and specific types of threats to energy infrastructure posed by vandals, saboteurs (including from the "insider"), organized criminals, and terrorists.
2. The historical effects of low-intensity conflict and war on energy production and transportation operations.
3. Specific weapons and tactics used by hostile elements, including those employed during illegal pipeline tapping operations. A review of guerrilla strategies is provided, based on classic teachings of Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, and Carlos Marighella. A survey of tactics – as exemplified by those in Colombia and Guatemala – is covered as is the use and effectiveness of former Soviet bloc weapons and improvised explosive devices.
4. An overview of how Western and Soviet-era counterinsurgency strategies differ – based on declassified CIA analyses – and have been used in order to show their varying degrees of effectiveness in influencing the protection of energy infrastructure.
Part II follows the overview with an examination of the types of vulnerabilities inherent in the various components of energy systems, such as oil and gas production infrastructure, pipelines, tank farms, refineries, offshore platforms, LNG tankers, and electric power infrastructure. This section reviews the function, importance and vulnerability of specific infrastructure components.
Key elements of the chapter comprise:
1. A detailed survey is provided of the vulnerability of oil and gas wells (particularly of casing damage), risks associated with attacks on wells producing hydrogen sulphide, and how to determine the significance of different type of smoke coming from wells.
2. The vulnerability of the upstream and downstream processing chain is analyzed, from oil-gas separation and treatment units to critical gas processing infrastructure.
3. The importance and vulnerability of key refinery infrastructure, such as crude distillation units, is covered.
4. A thorough analysis is conducted of oil and gas pipeline operation and design as well as the importance of incorporating security risk mitigation measures into front-end engineering and design stage of projects. Terrain issues, hydraulic considerations, pump and compressor station placement and the effectiveness of valves are just a few of the elements covered.
5. Offshore platform security measures, such as the hardening of key units, is covered, as is oil tanker and LNG tanker security vulnerability, especially from piracy and terrorism.
6. The vulnerability of electric power systems is examined from a system operation perspective, with the key components of generation, transmission and distribution analyzed in detail.
Part III is a practical guide to implementing an effective risk mitigation strategy. This multi-fold process is covered thoroughly, including the development of a threat assessment, conducting a cost-benefit analysis, ensuring incident response capability, implementing personnel security, coordinating with the host government and local communities, and instituting a targeted environmental response plan. Also addressed are various measures that can be implemented to help ensure physical security, such as facility hardening and the use of advanced technologies.
Part III highlights include:
1. The factors that incorporate the development of an accurate threat assessment so that present-day and anticipated threats to specific aspects of a project can be identified, especially in the case of a long-distance pipeline, where certain portions of the route may be more risk-prone. This is important, as a threat assessment will be the start of a continuing and lengthy security-evaluation process – rarely can the security environment in a country be expected to remain unchanged during a 30-year project lifetime.
2. A primer on physical security of installations is provided, with particularly detailed coverage of the use of optimal perimeter security measures in different operating environments, the benefits and drawbacks to currently available electronic monitoring and intrusion detection systems, techniques for hardening key infrastructure such as pipelines, and pipeline surveillance operations.
3. The critical factors in a cost-benefit analysis are covered, as are the factors influencing decisions over whether to go with costly high-tech fibre-optic security systems, which kinds of traditional hardening measures to use – such as steel-reinforced concrete pipeline shields – and long-term security personnel requirements are critical in both system design and estimating operational expenses.
4. A review of the benefits and challenges to relying on host governments to provide security for energy infrastructure operated by foreign companies, with examples cited from Colombia, Ecuador, Myanmar, Nigeria and other countries.
5. A practical guide to ensuring best practices for personnel security in the field, with a focus on mitigating against the kidnapping threat.
6. A look at the effective management of community relations, with examples used from three of the world's most challenging environments in which foreign energy companies to operate: Ecuador, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea.
Part IV provides country risk overviews that cover the scope of historical energy infrastructure security incidents as well as the specific operational vulnerabilities related to oil, gas and electric power infrastructure. Through the use of data and information never compiled before into a single source, a sweeping survey of key energy countries and regions is provided for not only the historical "hot spots" areas of energy security concerns (e.g., the Persian Gulf, Nigeria, and Colombia), but also for energy infrastructure in lesser energy provinces. This comprehensive global survey allows the reader to understand the full scope of the threats and risk mitigation measures throughout the world.
Countries and regions covered include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, the Caspian region, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ecuador, Ethiopia, the former Yugoslavia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Peru, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the South China Sea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The following are just a few of the highlights covered in this comprehensive global survey:
1. A comprehensive analysis of attacks on energy infrastructure and tankers during the Iran-Iraq war, including coverage of Iranian measures to mitigate the effect of Iraqi attacks on oil exports from Kharg Island and on key onshore facilities at Ganaveh and Gurreh.
2. An examination of present and past energy infrastructure and personnel security concerns in Iraq, with focus areas on attacks on pipelines, oil wells, tank farms and electric power infrastructure in both northern and southern Iraq.
3. An overview of the comprehensive nature of the destruction of Kuwait's oil sector during the Gulf War.
4. A survey of historical energy security incidents for the key foreign companies operating in the western and eastern Niger Delta, with additional coverage of the current militarisation of the swamps and creeks, the illegal bunkering problem, offshore security and electric power sector security issues. Energy security risk mitigation measures – including facility hardening and the Nigerian government's security response – also are provided. Special attention is paid to community relations challenges.
5. A complete examination of the modus operandi of FARC and ELN attacks on oil pipeline infrastructure in Colombia, with special attention paid to attacks on the Cano Limon-Covenas between 1986 and 2005. Outside of Arauca, other coverage includes attacks on infrastructure in Casanare and Putumayo departments. The Colombian military's response mechanism and US assistance are reviewed.
6. An examination is made of security issues affecting oil and gas exports from the Caspian region, with particular attention paid to security challenges to the BTC oil pipeline in Georgia.
7. Detailed coverage is made of the broad range of security problems for foreign energy companies operating in Indonesia, from Aceh and Riau to West Papua. Measures by the Indonesian government to employ TNI to guard critical energy facilities also is covered.
8. An analysis of ULFA attacks on oil infrastructure and pipelines in Assam, along with a chronology of incidents since 1990 and the Indian military's response to the oil sector's security challenges.
9. A detailed account is offered of UNITA's occupation of Soyo in 1993 and security incidents that have threatened oil operations in Cabinda.
10. Coverage of Karen attacks on the Yadana pipeline and Myanmar's domestic gas pipeline transmission network is provided.
11. An historical look at security risks affecting upstream oil and gas exploration in Peru's Huallaga basin and along the northern pipeline is provided as well as ElectroPeru's techniques for hardening the country's electric power infrastructure in order mitigate against Sendero Luminoso attacks.
12. Comprehensive coverage is provided of the threat to Yemen's oil sector during the 1994 civil war, attacks on the Marib-Ras Isa oil pipeline, the kidnapping problem and the threat posed by radical Islamic militants.
13. A overview is given of the attacks on upstream and pipeline infrastructure in Guatemala's Peten basin, focusing particularly on the Guatemalan army's measures to provide security. FAR's use of oil company radios to monitor company activities is cited.
14. MNR's attacks on the Beira-Mutare oil pipeline and Cahora Basssa's transmission system during Mozambique's civil war are reviewed, as is SADF commando strikes on oil infrastructure targets.
15. Attacks by Bugti and Marri tribal militants on Pakistan's gas grid are surveyed in detail as well as the ever-present threats to energy sector personnel from the ferraris in the 1980s to the radical Islamic militant threat best exemplified by the 1997 killings of Union Texas employees in Karachi. A look at the implications of the Pakistani government's deployment of Rangers, Frontier Constabulary and other paramilitary forces in tribal lands is surveyed.
16. A wide-range of other energy security issues is fully examined, including energy security in Mexico's Tabasco region, Islamic militant threats to foreign energy sector personnel in Saudi Arabia – as well as sabotage attacks on the country's oil facilities in the late 1980s – illegal oil siphoning operations in Chechyna, SPLA attacks on Sudan's oil sector since the early 1980s, the potential risk to Thailand's offshore gas infrastructure from Islamic militants, kidnapping of foreign energy company personnel in Bangladesh and Chad and much more.
Comprehensive source material
An unparalleled range of source material was used for this report, including information obtained first-hand from travel to oil, gas and power facilities in some of the world's highest-risk operating environments, declassified U.S. and British intelligence documents, the views of industry professionals, and a wide range of media. Press coverage used included not only trade press and international wire services and newspapers, but non-English language media such as local papers, radio and television broadcasts within countries such as Angola, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Peru and many others.
In some instances, such as the case of oil pipeline attacks in Colombia, very detailed information — time and method of attack, damage inflicted on pipelines, repair times, and operational peculiarities — had been released to local and international media. Exhaustive reporting from hundreds of attacks has been used fully in support of the analysis of guerilla tactics and capabilities in that country.
About the author
The author is an expert on global comparative energy infrastructure security issues and has assisted both governments and companies in meeting energy security challenges. He has an interest in the effect of insurgency and low-intensity conflict environments on energy sector operations in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. His background in energy security is complemented by a technical understanding of upstream and downstream energy infrastructure operations as well as of energy policy and investment issues. He has worked on a wide-range of energy issues and made site visits to oil, gas, and electric power infrastructure in dozens of countries in Australasia, Europe, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, the Near East, North America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. He also is a regular contributor to Petroleum Economist and has authored more than two dozen articles, with a focus on frontier oil and gas provinces.