IDEX: Oil, Gas Security Market Expected to Flourish Amid Unrest

By Stew Magnuson
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The oil and gas infrastructure security market, driven by instability in the regions where the commodities are produced, will see steady growth over the next five years, according to Visiongain, a London-based business intelligence firm.
The bad news for the energy companies bodes well for the scores of vendors selling sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, biometric identity card readers and checkpoint security devices here at IDEX.
The cost of protecting oil platforms, pipelines, supertankers and other structures vital in delivering petroleum products will rise from $27.35 billion in 2011 to $37.4 billion in 2016, said an executive summary of the report, "The Oil & Gas Infrastructure Security Market2011-2021," which was provided to National Defense Magazine.
The market has four main components: perimeter security, which includes, unmanned aerial vehicles, cameras, sensors and security guards; access control — biometric sensors or high-tech identity cards to verify who can enter facilities; cybersecurity; and maritime security to protect against piracy or sabotage in ports.
“The oil and gas infrastructure security market has evolved over the past 50 years, from a very basic market with moderate levels of spending to a byzantine set of services and technologies with large amounts investments and high standards expected,” the report noted.
Oil companies are increasingly operating in hostile nations, it added. Attacks can result from terrorists, disgruntled ex-employees, piracy, or from theft.
The industry’s reliance on supervisory control and data (SCADA) systems and wireless communications to monitor its infrastructure makes it vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
“The industry’s control systems have yet to be fully secured from potential attacks, and the levels of threat are rising the longer SCADA systems and industrial networks are left unprotected,” the report said.
Cybersecurity currently represents only $354 million, or 1 percent, of the oil and gas infrastructure security market, but that number is expected to rise dramatically. It will triple to 3 percent, or about $1.1 billion by 2016, the report said.
As more oil and gas production moves offshore, oil platforms and ships will be increasingly vulnerable and offer an “abundance of potential targets” to pirates, the report said. In 2011, 25 percent, or $6.7 billion, of all security expenditures in the sector will be spent on maritime security. That will rise to $8.2 billion by 2016. 

Topics: Cybersecurity, International

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