U.S.-based oil companies now face the more extreme security threats that energy sector operations in foreign countries have faced for decades. Among the challenges overseas are corruption, political unrest, and piracy. Domestically, dealing with the regulatory environment and protecting against post-9-11 threats amid tight budgets are the major challenges.
One major issue for U.S. oil operations is securing manned and unmanned offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Offshore platforms comprise hundreds of one-off design elements, the loss of any one of which could bring operations to a sudden and costly halt. Backups for virtually everything are stored and preserved at these support locations.
The security systems for these facilities are inordinately sophisticated compared to security at other types of warehouses due to the cost associated with the loss or damage of the items stored there.
Another important issue is security for liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals. Despite LNG’s excellent safety record, area commercial interests and residents often oppose terminals because of security concerns related to terrorism.
Michael Crocker, CPP, CSC, is president of Michael Crocker, CPP & Associates, Inc., a security consulting firm registered in Texas. He is past vice chairperson for the ASIS International Oil, Gas and Chemical Industry Security Council. Crocker currently serves as the ASIS International regional vice president for Region 6 (Texas).