Reuters | 11 February 2014

Column: The Shale Factor in US National Security

The boom in domestic shale oil and gas production has increased US prosperity and economic competitiveness. But the potential for this to enhance our national security remains largely unrealized.

The shale surge has boosted production by 50% for oil and 20% for gas over the last 5 years. Yet our political leaders are only just beginning to explore how it can help further national strategic interests.

We led a major study at the Center for a New American Security in the last year, bringing together a nonpartisan panel to examine national security implications of the unconventional energy boom. We decided that outdated idealization of “energy independence” is preventing the administration and Congress from focusing on current energy vulnerabilities and figuring out how Washington should secure our economic and security interests.

Though the United States now imports less oil than it has for more than a dozen years, we should not distance ourselves from international oil markets by pursuing full energy self-sufficiency. The best way to advance energy security is to remain engaged internationally with major energy players.


Rigzone | 28 January 2014

Iraq Says Syria War Spillover Hinders Oilfields, Pipelines

Spillover attacks from the civil war in Syria have hindered development of Iraq’s gas and oil reserves and a major pipeline to the Mediterranean has been blown up dozens of times, Iraq’s top energy official said on 28 January.

Violence in Iraq climbed back to its highest level in five years in 2013, with nearly 9,000 people killed, most of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

“The ongoing conflict in Syria has resulted in an increasing number of terrorists using vast desert areas between Syria and Iraq to establish bases from which they have carried out attacks against the civilian population and economic targets and infrastructure,” Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani said.

“Attacking the energy sector has been among their top priorities to deprive the country of its main revenue source,” he said at an energy conference in London. “The attacks have been focussed on oil export pipelines, power generation, and transmission lines.”

Rigzone | 30 December 2013

Libyan Militia Threatens To Cut Gas Deliveries

A Libyan militia that shut down most of the country’s oil terminals for months threatened on 29 December to cut off natural gas deliveries to the capital, potentially imperiling the power supply in a serious escalation of its standoff with the central government.

A spokesman for a militia in the country’s east, who did not identify himself, said in a recorded statement aired on local television stations that the government has 48 hours to resume paying salaries to the group, which was originally in charge of securing oil and gas facilities in the country’s east.

Rigzone | 18 December 2013

Industry Optimism, Spending Rise on Cybersecurity Preparation

Oil and gas companies have increased spending and are more confident of their cybersecurity measures, but the number and impact of cyberattacks continues to grow as industry’s measures fail to keep pace with increasingly sophisticated attacks, according to PwC’s 16th annual report “The Global State of information Security 2014.”

Seventy-nine percent of the 107 oil and gas industry respondents who participated in the survey expressed confidence over the effectiveness of their security activities, up from 78 percent in 2012. However, they reported that their confidence in the security programs of partners and suppliers decreased from 2012 to 2013, with confidence declining from 75 to 68 percent.

Rigzone | 12 December 2013

Libya’s Oil Security Force Expects Eastern Ports To Reopen 15 December

Libya’s oil security force expects an eastern autonomy movement to reopen seized export ports this weekend as promised, the force’s commander said on 11 December.

On 10 December, leaders of a tribal autonomy movement blocking three ports that had exported around 600,000 BOPD said they would end the stoppage on 15 December if the government agreed to give the east a share of the oil.

Such seizures have slashed Libya’s oil output to 250,000 B/D, from 1.4 million B/D in July, and added to chaos in the north African country 2 years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Field Fisher Waterhouse via Mondaq | 6 December 2013

Energy Industry Is on Alert Against Increasing Cyberattacks

Governments the world over have been ramping up their digital agendas in recent months, each seeking to instill the importance of cybersecurity on citizens and businesses alike. Attempts are being made to raise cybersecurity awareness, and essentially the message is that organizations must understand their networks, systems, and data and must take a proportionate, risk-based approach to keeping them secure. Resilient networks and systems must be in place.

Fuel Fix | 13 November 2013

Energy Companies Are Stingy on Cyber Intelligence

Oil and gas companies continue to be at a disadvantage when facing cyberattacks because they are not sharing information about incidents, experts said on 12 November at the American Petroleum Institute Cybersecurity Conference & Expo in Houston.

Although a few trusted professionals at oil and gas companies know each other and share information about attacks, communication has been limited and the need for more is extremely high, speakers said.

“We all talk about how we need to share information, but we’re not doing it. Why?” said Stuart Wagner, director of information technology security at pipeline giant Enterprise Products Partners. “It’s something everybody thinks is a great idea, but it’s not out there.”

Wagner said President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity executive order issued earlier this year helped set the framework for companies to share information about cyberattacks. A handful of security professionals are working to develop a group that will perform the kind of sharing envisioned by the executive order, Wagner said.

JPT | 12 November 2013

Management: Stark Realities of Managing Cybersecurity Risk

Worldwide, the cybersecurity threat is real and growing. The oil and gas industry’s technological critical infrastructure has been especially hard-hit, absorbing 40% of all cyber attacks globally. Yet the realities are not resonating effectively with industry executives because many companies have yet to put comprehensive protection plans into action.

This issue is potentially so devastating that it figuratively shouts for a short course about the chances that companies are taking, what vendors and purported experts are advocating, the grave risks, the unvarnished truth about hackers and company vulnerabilities, and how waiting for disaster is a dead-end choice.

Largely because of its worldwide exploration and production scope and the vast population dependent on energy, oilfield companies cannot simply blend in with the landscape and become unrecognizable as a major cyber target. For example, Telvent, which makes a control system for smart grid networks, was recently hacked. Project files for its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system were accessed and malware was installed on its network in the attack.

Other attacks have occurred against Saudi Aramco, which required 10 days to get its network back online after a Shamoon Wiper malware cyber attack disabled more than 30,000 workstations in a supposedly politically directed action by a group of hackers called the Cutting Sword of Justice. In a costly move only possible with a sovereign nation, the company sequestered its entire network while determining the cause of attack and fully restoring service. Meanwhile, the Chinese military has been accused of attempts to hack all types of industries, with a particular focus on oil and gas, according to the Mandiant Intelligence Center Report.

Oilprice | 12 November 2013

Report Points to Serious Oil Problems in Nigeria

A report last week from Amnesty International said energy companies operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta region weren’t entirely up front about what’s causing the hundreds of spills reported every year in the region. In a 66-page report, the rights group said oil companies, in particular Royal Dutch Shell, have made numerous claims about sabotage and oil theft that raise a series of questions. Now, lawmakers in OPEC member Nigeria are mulling legislation that would tighten penalties for oil companies responsible for the spills. The cost, if passed, would be in the millions of dollars for the companies operating there.

Amnesty, in its report, said the hundreds of oil spills reported in Nigeria every year are ruining the environment and putting human lives at risk. It said spills in the Niger Delta are the result of pipeline corrosion, maintenance issues, equipment failure, sabotage, and theft.

Rigzone | 8 November 2013

Private Protection: Combating the Piracy Threat

The In Amenas terrorist attack in January of this year was a stark reminder that oil and gas companies often operate in areas where their employees can be vulnerable from a security point of view.

While the In Amenas attack set a worrying precedent in that it was conducted by Islamist terrorists who deliberately targeted employees of the Western oil companies BP and Statoil, the truth remains that most hostage taking of oil company employees currently occurs at sea.

Attacks by pirates on oil and gas vessels offshore Africa happen frequently. The latest such incident occurred at the end of October, when two US citizens were kidnapped from an oil supply vessel offshore Nigeria. This kidnapping serves to remind just how dangerous the Gulf of Guinea is becoming for the crews of oil and gas vessels, as well as merchant seamen, with the International Maritime Bureau recording 31 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the region during the first 6 months of this year.

The increase in piracy off the coast of Africa in recent times has occurred as Western navies, which have traditionally enforced maritime law, are becoming smaller in response to budget cuts. The Royal Navy operated around 50 frigates and destroyers in 1990, compared to 20 today, while the total number of active ships in the US Navy declined from 592 to 283 between 1989 and 2009, according to the US Navy’s Naval History & Heritage Command.

4 November 2013

Gaining Support Is Key to Overseas Success

James Reese, CEO, TigerSwan

The marketplace for natural resources is truly global. As a multinational business traveler in search of new business, you may find yourself investing considerable capital and resources in unfamiliar areas. Ensuring the safety and security of your personnel and property is paramount, and taking steps to establish support from the local community can help you mitigate risk and execute a successful investment project.

It is often the perception of local citizens that multinational businesses arrive in their countries and rob them of natural resources and local revenue without adding any value or contributing to the economy. This type of practice leaves the host nation community with no vested interest in the well-being or success of your project. So, how do you win over the locals and get them to buy into your project emotionally and financially? Demonstrate outwardly that you are excited to be there to assist in the community. If you can do this, you will be less likely to face resistance or opposition.

There are a variety of ways to establish rapport with local communities in order to gain support. Some best practices include:

  • Engage local communities and eliciting their support early in the process of project startup. This will often prevent misunderstanding and provide a channel for communication.
  • Coordinate with local law enforcement before the project team arrives.
  • Hire locals to help with the project and teach them valuable skills and best practices.
  • Invite locals to use commodities within your self-contained facility such as medical clinics and primary schools.
  • Where possible, source food supplies and raw materials locally, thus contributing to the local economy.
  • Establish and execute a plan that transfers some of the business investment, infrastructure, and equipment to the local community upon your exit.

Without the support of the local community, you are likely to spend more on long-term security to combat risks such as protests, attacks, and theft at your project site. At TigerSwan, we often are called in to fix a problem when there is already an issue. Ideally, we would like to provide the tools and support to prevent these issues in the first place. As our best practices suggest, we recommend hiring a consultant such as TigerSwan who has extensive knowledge and knows how to engage local communities to help navigate the diverse cultures across the globe and provide appropriate recommendations for optimal security solutions in foreign regions. Our experience has shown that active, soft security solutions such as community engagement are not only cost effective, they also enhance the corporate reputation of companies working overseas.

By employing these best practices, you can change the perception of foreign business and establish goodwill in new communities. With minimal costs to you and your company, you can effectively establish rapport, support the community, and open the door for future business in the region.

James Reese

CEO and founder James Reese has 31 years of demonstrated success leading, managing, and organizing complex and multifunctional organizations. His leadership roles have spanned international and multicultured organizations and achieved success in areas of stability, instability, and high threat. He led TigerSwan from a two-person business, to an international, multiasset, global stability company with 250 personnel worldwide. Reese previously spent 21 years of his 25-year career in the Army Special Operations and was a decorated combat leader within the discreet Delta Force. He culminated his career after multiple combat tours working with host nation communities and government and business leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Founded in 2007 by former members of the US Army’s elite special operations unit Delta Force, TigerSwan specializes in corporate solutions across the entire spectrum of vulnerability management. TigerSwan’s Guardian Angel membership is an international corporate security program that enables you to travel safely and conduct your business globally. When travels take you to unfamiliar, unstable or even dangerous regions, your safety is paramount. Guardian Angel membership services range from client tracking and monitoring to cultural liaisons and low-profile security details—anytime, anywhere in the world. For more information, please visit


International Business Times | 1 November 2013

Worsening Nigeria Security Dents Royal Dutch Shell’s Earnings

Royal Dutch Shell’s ongoing security issues in Nigeria weighed on third-quarter earnings, sending the oil giant’s shares down by as much as 5% in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Shell reported a fall in earnings to USD 4.2 billion during the third quarter, on a current cost of supplies basis, down from USD 6.2 billion in the same quarter a year before.

Oil theft in Nigeria is a problem for Shell. Moreover, rival militias in the poverty-stricken country engaging in violent battles for resources have intensified security concerns—and raised costs—for those operating in Nigeria.

As well as the Nigeria production problems, Shell said its earnings were hit by significantly weaker industry refining conditions and production volume impacts from maintenance and asset replacement activities.

“We are facing headwinds from weak industry refining margins and the security situation in Nigeria, which continue to erode the near term outlook,” said Peter Voser, Shell’s chief executive.