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Abstract

The oil and gas industry faces a more complex range of security risks than ever before. Long-standing threats, such as crime, organized crime, kidnap, and political violence, are being joined by fraud and information theft, while the unprecedented development of information technology has allowed international criminal organizations to become more sophisticated, more international, and more aware of a potential victim’s weak points.

At a time when there is more information on risks than ever before, paradoxically the contemporary security and risk manager will find it more difficult than ever before to navigate a path through the volume of unreliable and misleading information. Globalisation and technological advancement have produced a situation in which it is incalculably easier to engage in organised crime than to prevent it. Kidnaps take place both in the developing and developed worlds. Although terrorism is often perceived as a key risk to the energy sector, in fact, it rarely affects oil, gas, or associated companies directly.

Energy company staff do risk being caught up in a wider political crisis that itself has little or nothing to do with international business, however. The flight of thousands of expatriates from Indonesia in May 1998 provides the most recent example.

It is crucial, therefore, for all firms in the sector to construct a workable and effective risk mitigation architecture, comprising viable processes for risk identification, evaluation, assessment, monitoring, management, and response. This should include as wide a pool of people as possible, from current office-holders within the company to employees with particularly useful experience, and external specialists and advisors. Too often, however, risk management programs are focused on the current situation. Too few take account of what could happen in the future.

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