Physical Attacks Need to Remain a Focus in the Oil and Gas Industry

When discussing ‘attacks’ in the oil and gas industry, the most concern has centred on the digital realm. While we are experiencing a cyber revolution, something that has enabled many industries, including oil and gas, to become more efficient and therefore profitable, it has also exposed them to new threats and vulnerabilities; it’s predicted that by next year, firms in this industry will be spending $1.87 billion on cyber security.

Without dismissing the importance of online security and the need for vigilance and protection from these threats, we must not allow ourselves to lose focus when it comes to physical, hostile attacks.

Only last year, there was a 14.2% increase in terror attacks, and a number of targeted oil and gas plants, highlighting the fact that these sites are still vulnerable to attacks. In fact, the sector is known as the commercial sector that is most targeted by terrorism, worldwide; even in nations where precautions have been taken and the military is still effective. It’s not only installations and refineries that are the victims of attacks, as development and exploration sites are also frequently targeted

Oil is a valuable commodity, and it’s worth has been estimated at around 5% of global GDP. What we need to acknowledge is that, unfortunately, the reality is that those planning to attack, will find and exploit gaps in current security strategies. For the countries that have a large oil and gas sector, these terrorist attacks can have a ripple effect that impacts multiple industries and ultimately economic growth is driven down while costs rise.

As political turbulence and unrest increases worldwide, it’s imperative that we understand the continued risks that are posed to one of our most valuable commodities.

At Hesco, we have long worked alongside the oil and gas sector, and understand that defending critical infrastructure and civilian personnel, in dangerous regions, demands protection that is not only increasingly secure and reliable against attacks – but it also readily available.

Land exploration fields are particularly vulnerable because they are often in remote areas and stretched over large distances, we must begin to focus our efforts on vastly improving perimeter security. While our legacy products in the oil and gas sector include our surface-mounted MIL units, used at preventative barriers or safe haven bunkers to safeguard personnel, equipment, facilities and accommodation bunkers, we recognized the need to develop a new wave of products that provide enhanced protection from attacks.

In truth, terrorist attacks using vehicles are increasing; terror networks are actively encouraging its recruits to use vehicles and trucks as weapons.  While other weapons may not be readily available, vehicles can be easily acquired. We have spent the last five years creating our TERRABLOCK range, a security solution that draws on decades of experience in product development and customer engagement to ensure we are designing the ultimate defensive structure that can be quickly deployed and has little impact on the surrounding environment. TERRABLOCK products offer unrivalled capabilities in design, innovation and manufacturing.

As well as security solutions in the oil and gas sector needing to mitigate hostile vehicles, to provide enhanced levels of security, they need to be anti-climb. Surface mounted and earth-filled, TERRABLOCK uses a series of coils and pins with anti-climb mesh and a patented energy transfer system – the impact from the crash is transferred from the crash zone along the entire length of the unit, stopping both hostile vehicles and intruders. The products have an M50P1 crash rating and were tested in the Californian desert with a 15,000 lb truck at 50 miles an hour, the result was a negative penetration reading.

TERRABLOCK was created to include specific products for the industry that are installed and integrated with;

Perimeter Security Detection Systems

Concertina razor wire

Advanced Optical Surveillance

Radar Surveillance

Crash Rated Vehicle Gates

Pedestrian Portals

Solar Lighting

Attacks on oil and gas plants have been hard to defend against, but as the vulnerability increases as they are viewed as an opportunity to weaken economies and undermine governments and corporations, we need to find solutions that minimize the damage and impact that can be caused, we believe that our TERRABLOCK products can provide enhanced security to the critical assets, infrastructure and lives that have been under attack.

By Adam Wilding Webb, High security Product Director at Hesco

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