In this time of depressed oil prices and the raging scourge of COVID-19, most economic analysts and energy asset operators now agree that 2020 could see negative demand growth for oil globally as industries shut down and countries around the world go on lockdown. Negative economic impacts are also being forecasted for the electricity, renewable energy, and mining industries. This current state of play demands that companies who control and manage the critical energy infrastructure and natural resource assets maintain their vigilance against physical, cyber, and technical security threats as they deal with these colliding “Black Swan” events.
The resilience of oil companies’ operations is essential to the economy, security and overall quality of life for all citizens in Africa and worldwide. “Indications and warnings are illuminating the fact that terrorists, hostile state actors, criminals, hackers for hire, and vandals are currently planning to take advantage of our current state of chaos,” declared C. Derek Campbell, CEO of US-based Energy & Natural Resource Security Inc (ENRS). “We continue to support a lot of energy companies in Africa to mitigate the hostile actions of those with ill-intent. In uncertain times like these, it is companies’ efforts against unexpected threats that ensure that their assets maintain continuity of operations during these trying times,” he added.
Key recommendations oil companies and their contractors should follow to ensure their assets achieve resilience and maintain continuity of operations notably include:
- Assess and Review your current cybersecurity posture against protocols such as NIST-800-171, ISO27001, and CIP Cybersecurity Frameworks.
- Monitor your employees and be cognizant of the IT methods and platforms they use to access your corporate networks while working remotely.
- Via your local national staff, engage the local populations/communities within a 5 to 10-mile radius of your operations to gain an understanding of the atmospherics around your asset.
- Spot check your existing physical and technical security measures to make sure they are fully functional.
- Request a security assessment during your operational downtime in order to gain an understanding of your asset’s current vulnerabilities and levels of assumed risk.
“The African Energy Chamber takes security threats in Africa extremely seriously and such risks should not be downplayed when our industry faces turmoil and prices instability,” commented Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber. “ENRS is a key partner for us and their best-in-class security solutions are what owners, operators, investors and insurers should be implementing to maintain the continuity of their operations and mitigate risk throughout their asset’s operational life cycle.”