The oil and gas utilities industry face threats from cyber incidents. The ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline in May 2021 had a huge impact on the industry. In February 2022, it was also reported that European oil facilities hit by cyber-attack and forced to operate at limited capacity.
These latest incidents suggest that oil and gas supply process depend on IT systems, and that the critical operations could be disrupted by IT not working due to cyber-attack.
It recommended that ICS/OT security should not just cover traditional control systems but also modern systems that relate to critical operations. It also recommended that ICS/OT security should assess the current risk, including the system, threats, and impact.
Furthermore, operations that handle hazardous materials such as oil and gas over a wide area are one of the most advanced industries that could be transformed by digital technology. Through real-time monitoring and control, productivity can be improved with real-time characterization of assets, feedstock, and output can be used to define optimal plant settings. This can also minimize human interventions.
Digital workforce in the refinery can improve field force effectiveness using wearable devices and digital tools, including augmented-reality systems. Wearable devices can also connect to an enhanced safety-control room to detect and mitigate critical risks, such as man down or gas leakages. From a technical point of view, these will be realized by using the cloud, edge and cellular networks such as private 5G.
How do we ensure resilient critical operations while new technologies of IT and CT (Communication Technology) are incorporated into ICS/OT?
Trend Micro has released a technical report on how the oil and gas industry can gain situational awareness across OT, IT and CT. Read our comprehensive report, ICS/OT Security for the Oil and Gas Utility Industry: Situational Awareness Across OT, IT, and CT, to learn more.