Oil and Gas Industry Accounted for 25% of Victims in June’s NotPetya Ransomware Attack; Frequency of Incidents Growing by
350% Year on Year
ADIPEC 2017’s Security in Energy Conference Will Focus on Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Crime Risks and Deploy Defence Mechanisms to Protect Critical Industry Systems and Infrastructure
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 03 October 2017 – Organisers of the second annual Security in Energy conference, to be held in Abu Dhabi in November, say that oil and gas has been exposed as a prime target for cyber criminals after the industry was singled out during international ransomware attacks.
Co-located within the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC), Security in Energy recognises the increasingly critical importance of IT systems to oil and gas operations, and follows two major ransomware attacks in the first half of 2017.
The second of these, the NotPetya attack at the end of June, appears to have specifically targeted oil and gas companies. According to analysis by Kaspersky Labs, just three business sectors accounted for around 80 per cent of targets. Oil and gas accounted for around 25 per cent, a close second to the finance sector, and just ahead of manufacturing.
“Cybercrime is a serious problem for any business, but recent incidents raise concerns that oil and gas companies will be high-priority targets for attacks,” said Christopher Hudson, President – Global Energy at dmg events, which organises ADIPEC in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). “The Security in Energy conference provides a robust discussion specific to the needs of this industry, helping companies ensure that strong defences are in place.”
Recent reports predict the Middle East cyber security market will grow from US$11.38 billion in 2017 to US$22.14 billion by 2022. ADIPEC’s Security in Energy Conference delivers the latest market intelligence in energy security protocols, and places a spotlight on the best innovations, security practices and crisis planning within the industry.
Specific conference sessions will cover key topics in cyber security, including ransomware; the internet of things (IoT); the convergence of operating technology and IT; security and compliance risks in cloud computing; risk management for supply chain and business continuity and the use of big data and analytics. Keynote addresses will focus on the balance between investment and risk, and the impact of regional collaboration on oil and gas security, with discussions to include both defensive and offensive approaches to security.
The conference programme is planned to offer immediate relevance to oil and gas. For example, there will be a significant discussion of threats to critical infrastructure, where attacks could cause widespread operational disruption and safety risks. It will offer insights into and front-line protection strategies, whether for new systems, or by retrofitting of existing industrial control systems to build secure and resilient operations.
There will also be a dedicated Security in Energy zone within the ADIPEC exhibition halls.
“Illicit cyber activity is here to stay,” said Don Randall, Former Head of Security and Chief Information Security Officer for the Bank of England, who will be sharing his expertise during the conference. “But understanding the motivation of the perpetrators, with appropriate responses and education, can substantially reduce the risk and harm.”
The list of speakers will feature leading figures from organisations tasked with tackling cybercrime in the Middle East, including Ahmed Alshemaly, Director, Cyber Defense Centre, National Electronic Security Authority (NESA), United Arab Emirates; Eng. Ibrahim AlShamrani, Executive Director of Operations, National Cyber Security Center, Ministry of Interior, Saudi Arabia; and Mohammed Bushlaibi, Forensic Analyst, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), United Arab Emirates. They will speak alongside renowned international experts.
According to Accenture’s High Performance Security 2016 Report, 96 cyberattacks were reported over 12 months by oil and gas company heads, while 55 per cent of oil and gas leaders say the need to fill cybersecurity gaps in end point or network security is their most pressing concern. The Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report estimates that the frequency of ransomware attacks is growing by around 350 per cent each year. The tools to conduct an attack are easy to obtain and easy to use. Ransomware is even available as a software-as-a-service subscription.
While the number of attacks is increasing, there are concerns that some oil and gas companies have reduced their security budgets as they struggle to balance cost and risk at a time when finances are under pressure, leaving themselves dangerously exposed. The Security in Energy conference sessions will aim to bridge this awareness gap, emphasise the importance of building a solid defence platform against cyber-attacks and understanding the fallout of an attack and its implications to business.
"Cybercrime is a threat to the global economy,” said Sandip Patel, QC, a UK-based lawyer and leading international expert on prosecuting cybercrime cases in court, and one of the speakers at the Security in Energy conference. “Some estimates cost it at more than 445 billion dollars, but the true cost is far greater as many countries do not report on this."
By co-locating security within ADIPEC, one of the world’s most important strategic gatherings for top global oil and gas executives, Security in Energy ensures that the integrity of systems is part of a broader discussion of industry issues.
A company’s security protocols are generally in the capable hands of the CIO/CISO. However, in order for the protocols to be 100 per cent understood and delivered, it is the priority of the entire organisation, from the top-down and bottom-up, to ensure a solid framework and delivery. Bridging the vocabulary gap between security professionals and their CEO’s and senior management teams is vital to ensure they are all aligned on the ever-present security risks to their organisation.
“Reducing cost and improving efficiency are important messages in oil and gas today, and many companies are investing in technology to reduce their costs,” said Christopher Hudson. “Keeping that technology safe and secure needs to be a number one priority. It needs to be as much a concern for the Chief Executive Officer as it is for the Chief Information Officer.
“Security in Energy recognises that this is a core issue for a modern business, and cannot be pushed into a departmental silo.”
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, hosted by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and organised by the Global Energy division of dmg events, ADIPEC is one of the world’s leading oil and gas events, and the largest in Africa and the Middle East.
ADIPEC will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 13 to 16 November 2017, with the Security in Energy Conference to be held on 14 and 15 November.
- ENDS –
Held under the patronage of the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and organised by the Global Energy division of dmg events, ADIPEC is the global meeting point for oil and gas professionals. Standing as one of the world’s top energy events, and the largest in the Middle East and North Africa, ADIPEC is a knowledge-sharing platform that enables industry experts to exchange ideas and information that shape the future of the energy sector. The 19th edition of ADIPEC 2016 took place from 7-10 November at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). ADIPEC 2016 was supported by the UAE Ministry of Energy, Masdar, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the Abu Dhabi Chamber, and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi). dmg Global Energy is committed to helping the growing international energy community bridge gaps by bringing oil and gas professionals face to face with new technologies and business opportunities.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Senior Marketing Manager, DMG Events Global Energy
Twofour54, Park Rotana Offices, 6th Floor
PO Box 769256, Abu Dhabi, UAE
T: +971 (0)2 6970 515
T: +971 4 275 4100
Mark Robinson (English): +971 (0)55 127 9764
Feras Hamzah (Arabic): +971 (0)50 798 4784
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The year 2020 was exceptional in many ways, to say the least. All of which, lockdowns and meltdowns, managed to overshadow a changing of the guard in the LNG world. After leapfrogging Indonesia as the world’s largest LNG producer in 2006, Qatar was surpassed by Australia in 2020 when the final figures for 2019 came in. That this happened was no surprise; it was always a foregone conclusion given Australia’s massive LNG projects developed over the last decade. Were it not for the severe delays in completion, Australia would have taken the crown much earlier; in fact, by capacity, Australia already sailed past Qatar in 2018.
But Australia should not rest on its laurels. The last of the LNG mega-projects in Western Australia, Shell’s giant floating Prelude and Inpex’s sprawling Ichthys onshore complex, have been completed. Additional phases will provide incremental new capacity, but no new mega-projects are on the horizon, for now. Meanwhile, after several years of carefully managing its vast capacity, Qatar is now embarking on its own LNG infrastructure investment spree that should see it reclaim its LNG exporter crown in 2030.
Key to this is the vast North Field, the single largest non-associated gas field in the world. Straddling the maritime border between tiny Qatar and its giant neighbour Iran to the north, Qatar Petroleum has taken the final investment decision to develop the North Field East Project (NFE) this month. With a total price tag of US$28.75 billion, development will kick off in 2021 and is expected to start production in late 2025. Completion of the NFE will raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity from a current 77 million tons per annum to 110 mmtpa. This is easily higher than Australia’s current installed capacity of 88 mmtpa, but the difficulty in anticipating future utilisation rates means that Qatar might not retake pole position immediately. But it certainly will by 2030, when the second phase of the project – the North Field South (NFS) – is slated to start production. This would raise Qatar’s installed capacity to 126 mmtpa, cementing its lead further still, with Qatar Petroleum also stating that it is ‘evaluating further LNG capacity expansions’ beyond that ceiling. If it does, then it should be more big leaps, since this tiny country tends to do things in giant steps, rather than small jumps.
Will there be enough buyers for LNG at the time, though? With all the conversation about sustainability and carbon neutrality, does natural gas still have a role to play? Predicting the future is always difficult, but the short answer, based on current trends, it is a simple yes.
Supermajors such as Shell, BP and Total have set carbon neutral targets for their operations by 2050. Under the Paris Agreement, many countries are also aiming to reduce their carbon emissions significantly as well; even the USA, under the new Biden administration, has rejoined the accord. But carbon neutral does not mean zero carbon. It means that the net carbon emissions of a company or of a country is zero. Emissions from one part of the pie can be offset by other parts of the pie, with the challenge being to excise the most polluting portions to make the overall goal of balancing emissions around the target easier. That, in energy terms, means moving away from dirtier power sources such as coal and oil, towards renewables such as solar and wind, as well as offsets such as carbon capture technology or carbon trading/pricing. Natural gas and LNG sit right in the middle of that spectrum: cleaner than conventional coal and oil, but still ubiquitous enough to be commercially viable.
So even in a carbon neutral world, there is a role for LNG to play. And crucially, demand is expected to continue rising. If ‘peak oil’ is now expected to be somewhere in the 2020s, then ‘peak gas’ is much further, post-2040s. In 2010, only 23 countries had access to LNG import facilities, led by Japan. In 2019, 43 countries now import LNG and that number will continue to rise as increased supply liquidity, cheaper pricing and infrastructural improvements take place. China will overtake Japan as the world’s largest LNG importer soon, while India just installed another 5 mmtpa import terminal in Hazira. More densely populated countries are hopping on the LNG bandwagon soon, the Philippines (108 million people), Vietnam (96 million people), to ensure a growing demand base for the fuel. Qatar’s central position in the world, sitting just between Europe and Asia, is a perfect base to service this growing demand.
There is competition, of course. Russia is increasingly moving to LNG as well, alongside its dominant position in piped natural gas. And there is the USA. By 2025, the USA should have 107 mmtpa of LNG capacity from currently sanctioned projects. That will be enough to make the USA the second-largest LNG exporter in the world, overtaking Australia. With a higher potential ceiling, the USA could also overtake Qatar eventually, since its capacity is driven by private enterprise rather than the controlled, centralised approach by Qatar Petroleum. The appearance of US LNG on the market has been a gamechanger; with lower costs, American LNG is highly competitive, having gone as far as Poland and China in a few short years. But while the average US LNG breakeven cost is estimated at around US$6.50-7.50/mmBtu, Qatar’s is even lower at US$4/mmBtu. Advantage: Qatar.
But there is still room for everyone in this growing LNG market. By 2030, global LNG demand is expected to grow to 580 million tons per annum, from a current 360 mmtpa. More LNG from Qatar is not just an opportunity, it is a necessity. Traditional LNG producers such as Malaysia and Indonesia are seeing waning volumes due to field maturity, but there is plenty of new capacity planned: in the USA, in Canada, in Egypt, in Israel, in Mozambique, and, of course, in Qatar. In that sense, it really doesn’t matter which country holds the crown of the world’s largest exporter, because LNG demand is a rising tide, and a rising tide lifts all 😊
Throughout much of its history, the United States has imported more petroleum (which includes crude oil, refined petroleum products, and other liquids) than it has exported. That status changed in 2020. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) February 2021 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) estimates that 2020 marked the first year that the United States exported more petroleum than it imported on an annual basis. However, largely because of declines in domestic crude oil production and corresponding increases in crude oil imports, EIA expects the United States to return to being a net petroleum importer on an annual basis in both 2021 and 2022.
EIA expects that increasing crude oil imports will drive the growth in net petroleum imports in 2021 and 2022 and more than offset changes in refined product net trade. EIA forecasts that net imports of crude oil will increase from its 2020 average of 2.7 million barrels per day (b/d) to 3.7 million b/d in 2021 and 4.4 million b/d in 2022.
Compared with crude oil trade, net exports of refined petroleum products did not change as much during 2020. On an annual average basis, U.S. net petroleum product exports—distillate fuel oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids, and motor gasoline, among others—averaged 3.2 million b/d in 2019 and 3.4 million b/d in 2020. EIA forecasts that net petroleum product exports will average 3.5 million b/d in 2021 and 3.9 million b/d in 2022 as global demand for petroleum products continues to increase from its recent low point in the first half of 2020.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), February 2021
EIA expects that the United States will import more crude oil to fill the widening gap between refinery inputs of crude oil and domestic crude oil production in 2021 and 2022. U.S. crude oil production declined by an estimated 0.9 million b/d (8%) to 11.3 million b/d in 2020 because of well curtailment and a drop in drilling activity related to low crude oil prices.
EIA expects the rising price of crude oil, which started in the fourth quarter of 2020, will contribute to more U.S. crude oil production later this year. EIA forecasts monthly domestic crude oil production will reach 11.3 million b/d by the end of 2021 and 11.9 million b/d by the end of 2022. These values are increases from the most recent monthly average of 11.1 million b/d in November 2020 (based on data in EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly) but still lower than the previous peak of 12.9 million b/d in November 2019.
In the past week, crude oil prices have surged to levels last seen over a year ago. The global Brent benchmark hit US$63/b, while its American counterpart WTI crested over the US$60/b mark. The more optimistic in the market see these gains as a start of a commodity supercycle stemming from market forces pent-up over the long Covid-19 pandemic. The more cynical see it as a short-term spike from a perfect winter storm and constrained supply. So, which is it?
To get to that point, let’s examine how crude oil prices have evolved since the start of the year. On the consumption side, the market is vacillating between hopeful recovery and jittery reactions as Covid-19 outbreaks and vaccinations lent a start-stop rhythm to consumption trends. Yes, vaccination programmes were developed at lightning speed; and even plenty of bureaucratic hiccoughs have not hampered a steady rollout across the globe. In the UK, more than 20% of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccines, with the USA not too far behind. Israel has vaccinated more than 75% of its population, and most countries should be well into their own programmes by the end of March. That acceleration of vaccinations has underpinned expectations of higher oil demand, with hopes that people will begin to drive again, fly again and buy again. But those hopes have been occasionally interrupted by new Covid-19 clusters detected and, more worryingly, new mutations of the virus.
Against this hopeful demand picture, supply has been managed. Squabbling among the OPEC+ club has prevented a more aggressive approach to managing supply than kingpin Saudi Arabia would like, but OPEC+ has still managed to hold itself together to placate the market that crude spigots will remain restrained. And while the UAE has successfully shifted OPEC+ quota plan for 2021 from quarterly adjustments to monthly, Saudi Arabia stepped into the vacuum to stamp its authority with a voluntary 1 million barrels per day cut. The market was impressed.
That combination of events over January was enough to move Brent prices from the low US$50/b level to the upper US$50/b range. However, US$60/b remained seemingly out of reach. It took a heavy dusting of snow across Texas to achieve that.
Winter weather across the northern hemisphere seemed harsher than usual this year. Europe was hit by two large continent-wide storms, while the American Northeast and Pacific Northwest were buffeted with quite a few snowstorms. Temperatures in East Asia were fairly cold too, which led to strong prices for natural gas and LNG to keep the population warm. But it was a major snowstorm that swept through the southern United States – including Texas – that had the largest effect on prices. Some areas of Texas saw temperatures as low as -18 degrees Celsius, while electricity demand surged to the point where grids failed, leaving 4.3 million people without power. A national emergency was declared, with over 150 million Americans under winter storm warning conditions.
For the global oil complex, the effects of the storm were also direct. Some of the largest oil refineries in the world were forced to shut down due to the Arctic conditions, further disrupting power and fuel supplies. All in all, over 3 mmb/d of oil processing capacity had to be idled in the wake of the storm, including Motiva’s Port Arthur, ExxonMobil’s Baytown and Marathon’s Galveston Bay refineries. And even if the sites were still running, they would have to contend to upstream disruptions: estimates suggest that crude oil production in the prolific Permian Basin dropped by over a million barrels per day due to power outages, while several key pipelines connecting Cushing, Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast were also forced to shutter.
That perfect storm was enough to send crude prices above the US$60/b level. But will it last? The damage from the Texan snowstorm has already begun to abate, and even then crude prices did not seem to have the appetite to push higher than US$63/b for Brent and US$60/b for WTI.
Instead, the key development that should determine the future range for crude prices going into the second quarter of 2021 will be in early March, when the OPEC+ club meets once again to decide the level of its supply quotas for April and perhaps beyond. The conundrum facing the various factions within the club is this: at US$60/b, crude oil prices are not low enough to scare all members in voting for unanimous stricter quotas and also not high enough to rescind controlled supply. Instead, prices are at a fragile level where arguments can be made both ways. Russia is already claiming that global oil markets are ‘balanced’, while Saudi Arabia is emphasising the need for caution in public messaging ahead of the meeting. Saudi Arabia’s voluntary supply cut will also expire in March, setting up the stage for yet another fractious meeting. If a snow overrun Texans was a perfect storm to push crude prices to a 13-month high, then the upcoming OPEC+ meeting faces another perfect storm that could negate confidence. Which will it be? The answer lies on the other side of the storm.