Hacking Could Disrupt Global Oil Supplies
Threats to cyber security are causing severe damage and disruption to the global oil and gas sector. Oil executives reported this morning that hack attacks were becoming both better planned and more frequent than in recent times.
"If anybody gets into the area where you can control opening and closing of valves, or release valves, you can imagine what happens," said Ludolf Luehmann, an IT manager at Shell (RDSa.L) Europe's biggest company .
"It will cost lives and it will cost production, it will cost money, cause fires and cause loss of containment, environmental damage - huge, huge damage," he told the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.
The global energy market is increasingly controlled by digital systems that are coming under threat from hackers. Hackers are attempting to gain access to cutting edge technology for rival companies.
"We see an increasing number of attacks on our IT systems and information and there are various motivations behind it - criminal and commercial," said Luehmann. "We see an increasing number of attacks with clear commercial interests, focusing on research and development, to gain the competitive advantage."
"Cyber crime is a huge issue. It's not restricted to one company or another it's really broad and it is ongoing," said Dennis Painchaud, director of International Government Relations at Canada's Nexen Inc (NXY.TO). "It is a very significant risk to our business."
"It's something that we have to stay on top of every day. It is a risk that is only going to grow and is probably one of the preeminent risks that we face today and will continue to face for some time."
The news comes after the Chartered Management Institute announced earlier this year that cyber security and hacking were the biggest risks faced by companies this year.