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Energy security tops agenda at London counter terrorism event

Clarion Defence And Security : 08 February, 2013  (Special Report)
Energy sector security has taken on an entirely new dimension following the recent hostage crisis at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria, say analysts who have long viewed the security of physical infrastructure supporting the sector as its principle Achilles Heel.
Energy security tops agenda at London counter terrorism event

The assault, which has claimed the lives of at least 37 foreign workers, is said to be worst terrorist attack on an oil and gas installation in the 150-year history of the industry, has prompted an urgent review of safety and security procedures, not to mention reconsideration of drilling plans.

Security of oil and gas infrastructure takes center stage at Counter Terror Expo, with its own dedicated zone, including a free to attend educational workshop stream and exhibition. Counter Terror Expo is the world-renowned annual gathering of counter-terrorism and security professionals, which convenes again at London Olympia on 24-25 April 2013.

With oil and gas companies still attempting to navigate the Arab Spring fallout, unrest and domestic terrorism in Nigeria and continued acts of piracy off both African coastlines, the rise in al Qaeda linked activity in Mali and Algeria has significantly complicated matters

Threats within and emanating from these highly volatile regions will be discussed in depth within the context of the closely associated Global Counter Terrorism Conference.

But the spread of instability to Algeria was something of a surprise, given that the protection afforded to oil and gas installations in the country is renowned. That said, it is understood that Norwegian oil company Statoil voiced its desire to build an airstrip near the In Amenas plant five years ago, to avoid the need to have expatriate staff bused in and out. In the event it wasn’t built and the recent siege began when militants attacked one of the bus convoys.

Some analysts now fear that if Algeria is not a safe place to operate in, then nowhere within the region is. Underscoring this fear, two security guards died in an attack a northern Algerian gas pipeline in recent days. This incident occurred around the southern edge of the Kabylia mountains and close to an al-Qaeda stronghold.

Partly as a consequence of the In Amenas siege and subsequent hostage crisis, European market analyst Visiongain has reported that the global oil & gas infrastructure security market will reach a value of $28.44 billion in 2013.

Its lead analyst comments that: “Ever increasing global energy demand, coupled with high energy prices, is compelling the industry to operate with greater frequency in regions where civil unrest, terrorism, and criminal activities are common threats.”

Within this context, the market for security products and services, including those used to protect critical assets in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the industry, is experiencing a period of rapid growth.

Should the rise in militant activity in Algeria be indicative of a wider security breakdown across the Sahel, a volatile region stretching across the African continent from Senegal to Eritrea, the energy sector will have to move fast to better protect personnel and physical infrastructure across the world, including the UK.

The forthcoming Counter Terror Expo 2013 delivers extensive insight across the gamut of available protective measures relevant to Oil & Gas security including; blast protection systems, fire protection & suppression, command & control technology, fibre optic transmission systems, IP based transmission systems for CCTV surveillance, close protection, hostage crisis management, counter industrial espionage, VIP Protection, ROV’s, CCTV integrating specialised cameras (ie explosion-proof, thermal cameras), security-perimeter, radar and sonar detection, fast craft detection, autonomous underwater surveillance, scanning and screening, persons on-board monitoring (POB), Intrinsically Safe detection and surveillance and access control.

Counter Terror Expo remains a key annual event for government and industry professionals from across the relevant domain spaces worldwide. Experts gather in London each year to discuss the principal current issues, debate potential methods of mitigation with delegates from across the globe and drive forward appropriate decision making in their sphere of influence to keep their nations, borders, crowded places, critical national infrastructure, companies, assets and individuals safe from the threat of terrorist attack.

The full conference program can be viewed here. Delegates can now book their place and save £150 with the first early bird offer.

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