Increasing dependence on technology and web-based communication has been the key cause of several cyber threats, particularly to the oil & gas industry. The year-on-year rise in cyber-attacks on this sector coupled with the limited awareness about the potential measures and precautions that could be taken by both the IT and OT infrastructures have been influential in the development of cyber-crime combating systems. Thus, cyber security is critical to the development of the oil & gas industry, which faces cyber threats not only commercial in nature, but also from activists such as environmental groups.
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Several cyber-attacks in the upstream, midstream, and downstream oil & gas business have paved the way for the development and installation of cyber security systems in the whole value chain. Leading players in the global oil & gas business are facing similar threats. In 2015, Saudi Aramco, a national oil company based in Saudi Arabia, witnessed a major cyber hack wherein in just five hours, more than 34,800 computers and the entire payment portal were compromised and multiple petroleum tanks and trucks seeking refills had to be turned away. Saudi Aramco is a key exporter of oil to several countries and exports more than 9% of the world’s oil. This attack resulted in massive losses and therefore several breakdowns and delays. Therefore, companies have started investing in cyber security systems in order to combat cyber-attacks.
Reported cyber threats in the oil & gas industries include crime ware, cyber espionage, insider misuse, web application attacks, miscellaneous errors, physical threat/loss of property, denial of service, and payment skimmers. Cyber security systems installed in oil & gas operational sites provide rigorous monitoring during plant shutdown, utilities interruption, production disruption, hydrocarbon installation terrorism, facilities terrorism, and undetected spills. They offer safe operations starting from exploration & production of oil & gas to delivery of products to end-users without any mishap or breakdown.
The oil & gas cyber security market can be segmented based on type into the physical security and network security categories. In terms of sector, the market can be segregated into the upstream, midstream, and downstream divisions. On the basis of application, the oil & gas cyber security market can be divided into the onshore and offshore groups. In the upstream sector, confidential information or data related to drilling operations, production sharing contracts (PSC), tenders, field production information, block diagrams, planned projects, and drilling methodologies are the various sections running severe risks of cyber-attacks. Thus, this sector is more vulnerable. Cyber threats to the midstream oil & gas sector are related to supply chain logistics, storage information, distribution networks, pipeline data, and pipeline & transportation information. Those to the downstream sector involve refinery information, end-user distribution, consumer data, retail data, and industrial plants & manufacturing data.
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Countries in North America, such as the U.S. and Canada are more inclined toward safe operations especially in the development and production of shale gas. This is expected to boost the demand for several cyber security systems in the next few years. Europe and North America play host to several established players involved in the manufacturing of cyber security components such as hardware and software for the protection of operational data in the entire oil & gas value chain. In order to increase their market share, these players are likely to enter the potential markets in Asia Pacific, especially China and India, in the next few years.
Manufacturers and suppliers operating in the oil & gas cyber security market include Lockheed Martin Corporation, Siemens AG, Parsons, Microsoft Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Symantec Corporation, Intel Corporation, Rapid 7, and Accenture.
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