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Energy security tops agenda at forthcoming London counter terrorism event

posted on Feb 8, 2013

Industry sector worries about who is going to be hit next and when

By: Chris Yates for Counter Terror Expo

London, 8 February 2013 - Energy sector security has taken on an entirely new dimension following the recent hostage crisis at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria, say analysts who have long viewed the security of physical infrastructure supporting the sector as it’s principle Achilles Heel.

The assault, which has claimed the lives of at least 37 foreign workers, is said to be worst terrorist attack on an oil and gas installation in the 150-year history of the industry, has prompted an urgent review of safety and security procedures, not to mention reconsideration of drilling plans.

Security of oil and gas infrastructure takes center stage at Counter Terror Expo, with its own dedicated zone, including a free to attend educational workshop stream and exhibition. Counter Terror Expo is the world-renowned annual gathering of counter-terrorism and security professionals, which convenes again at London Olympia on 24-25 April 2013.

With oil and gas companies still attempting to navigate the Arab Spring fallout, unrest and domestic terrorism in Nigeria and continued acts of piracy off both African coastlines, the rise in al Qaeda linked activity in Mali and Algeria has significantly complicated matters

Threats within and emanating from these highly volatile regions will be discussed in depth within the context of the closely associated Global Counter Terrorism Conference.

But the spread of instability to Algeria was something of a surprise, given that the protection afforded to oil and gas installations in the country is renowned. That said, it is understood that Norwegian oil company Statoil voiced its desire to build an airstrip near the In Amenas plant five years ago, to avoid the need to have expatriate staff bused in and out. In the event it wasn’t built and the recent siege began when militants attacked one of the bus convoys.

Some analysts now fear that if Algeria is not a safe place to operate in, then nowhere within the region is. Underscoring this fear, two security guards died in an attack a northern Algerian gas pipeline in recent days. This incident occurred around the southern edge of the Kabylia mountains and close to an al-Qaeda stronghold.

Partly as a consequence of the In Amenas siege and subsequent hostage crisis, European market analyst Visiongain has reported that the global oil & gas infrastructure security market will reach a value of $28.44 billion in 2013.

It’s lead analyst comments that: “Ever increasing global energy demand, coupled with high energy prices, is compelling the industry to operate with greater frequency in regions where civil unrest, terrorism, and criminal activities are common threats.”

Within this context, the market for security products and services, including those used to protect critical assets in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the industry, is experiencing a period of rapid growth.

Should the rise in militant activity in Algeria be indicative of a wider security breakdown across the Sahel, a volatile region stretching across the African continent from Senegal to Eritrea, the energy sector will have to move fast to better protect personnel and physical infrastructure across the world, including the UK.

The forthcoming Counter Terror Expo 2013 delivers extensive insight across the gamut of available protective measures relevant to Oil & Gas security including; blast protection systems, fire protection & suppression, command & control technology, fibre optic transmission systems, IP based transmission systems for CCTV surveillance, close protection, hostage crisis management, counter industrial espionage, VIP Protection, ROV’s, CCTV integrating specialised cameras (i.e. explosion-proof, thermal cameras, etc.), security-perimeter, radar & sonar detection, , fast craft detection, autonomous underwater surveillance, scanning and screening, persons on-board monitoring (POB), Intrinsically Safe detection and surveillance and access control.

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