Protecting Oil & Gas from Terrorist Attacks

Terrorists have been targeting oil fields, pipelines, tankers and refineries for a long time as they know the significance these facilities hold economically, politically and militarily. By attacking and/or controlling areas of critical oil and gas infrastructure, terrorists can undermine the power and stability of the government, whilst economically weakening said government and foreign powers with vested interest in the region.

The Islamic State, for example, placed the most strategic importance in gaining territory in Iraq and Syria where oil pipelines are present. By gaining control of this territory, oil production and oil smuggling became a major revenue stream and provided enough economic sustenance for expansion and to carry out offensive attacks.

In 2015, the estimated income ISIS derived from oil operations was $40 million per month. Due to increased air strikes by the US military and subsequent loss of territory, this number has gone down and their monthly oil income was estimated to be $20 million in 2016. This income will have decreased again in 2017.

Readiness in such a complex area of risk can only be achieved with the best intelligence, cooperation with governments and other operators, early security warning and hardened protection, and well-developed and rehearsed contingency plans for potentially affected facilities.

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