Organisations in the oil and gas industry must adapt to an increasingly interconnected energy landscape by taking a streamlined and coordinated approach to security, urge UAE and international experts.
The promise of emerging technology brings with it a growing concern of data and infrastructure protection within the industry, which has proven to be a persistent challenge that needs to be immediately addressed in the region and across the world, say industry leaders.
The Middle East’s burgeoning security market is forecast to be worth US$34 billion by 2020, with more than 50% being spent on government, energy, and critical infrastructure alone, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. Meanwhile, figures from MarketsandMarkets show that the overall critical infrastructure protection market in the Middle East will be worth US$$13.07 billion by 2018.
In support of regional and global efforts to protect the industry from threats posed by compromised information technology and today’s rapidly changing global environment, the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC 2016) will be launching its inaugural edition of ‘Security in Energy’.
The programme, which is supported by the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), will feature a dedicated exhibition and conference, providing valuable insights on the growing need for worldwide industry security across the energy landscape.
“Global advances in technology have allowed us to connect with others in a way we never have before. In the energy sector, it has propelled stakeholder collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and information, enabling real-time interaction between experts, professionals, and those working on the field,” said H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
“However, with greater interconnectivity comes greater challenges within information security, making it crucial that we are always one step ahead when it comes to protecting sensitive data. This means organisations need to develop a consolidated, multi-layered strategy for safeguarding critical industry information. The inaugural ‘Security in Energy’ exhibition and conference at ADIPEC will address those very concerns, inviting the best and brightest minds under one roof to discuss how the industry can shield itself from the very real threats posed by information technology,” H.E. Al Mansoori added.Set to be the annual meeting platform for key regional and international stakeholders engaged in ensuring the safety of the industry, ‘Security in Energy’ will address both the physical and virtual threats to critical infrastructure.
The conference agenda includes a keynote presentation by British army officer and former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General Sir Richard Shirreff. Conference speakers will also include senior-level representation from industry leading companies, to include the TRA, Saudi Aramco, and the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA).
Cyber threats and attacks against the oil and gas industry in different parts of the world are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated targeting both IT and OT infrastructures. Industry experts are calling for continuous improvements to cybersecurity safeguards and protocols in oil and gas facilities in order to protect valuable company information and key operational equipment, as well as to maintain operations in a safe and secure manner.Recent figures from Cybersecurity Ventures show that spending on protection against cyber-attacks is forecast to be a market worth US$13.43 billion by 2019 in the Middle East and Africa region alone. Meanwhile, US-based ABIresearch forecasts global cybersecurity spending on oil and gas critical infrastructure to reach US$1.87 billion by 2018.
“In 2016, there is an urgency for nations to adopt national integrated cyber/physical security frameworks to pre-empt the growing external threats that are now constantly exploring vulnerabilities in energy facilities across the supply chain,” said Dr Sally Leivesley, Managing Director of UK-based risk management firm Newrisk Limited.
“Security in Energy at ADIPEC 2016 is an essential part of the region’s strategy to mitigate the significant risks associated with these threats by delivering layered solutions for innovative security frameworks, with lectures on pre-emptive physical and cyber solutions, cyber target tracking, real-time intelligence, new technology, and practical assurance and exercising procedures.”
“The topics at the event will cover the security of people as well as technology – high-value resources that are increasingly being exposed to both virtual and physical threats. The forum will promote enhanced leadership in energy security for the region, and present opportunities for industry cooperation, shaping strategies for a secure and sustainable energy future,” added Dr Leivesley.
Exchanging best practices
The ADIPEC 2016 ‘Security in Energy’ conference will invite leading industry security professionals, government officials, academics and protection agencies to the stage to share knowledge and exchange best practice on how best to tackle current security concerns.
The programme will feature keynote presentations, technical sessions, and panel discussions on energy-specific topics ranging from disaster prevention, emergency readiness, and event recovery, to innovative security solutions and risk mitigation.
“Today, we are witnessing the digitisation of the oil and gas industry, characterised by the increased application of information technology,” said Christopher Hudson, President – dmg events, Global Energy. “Maintaining the protection and integrity of vital assets in today’s dynamic and increasingly globalised business environment is crucial for sustainable progress in the energy sector. ‘Security in Energy’ at ADIPEC 2016 will offer innovative solutions that organisations can deploy for effective critical infrastructure protection.”
Established as the world’s most influential exhibition and conference for the oil and gas industry, ADIPEC has a longstanding track record of bringing together globally celebrated luminaries and experts to discuss challenges and opportunities in the energy sector. The annual four-day event will take place from 7 - 10 November 2016 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Adapted from a press release by Louise Mulhall
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