By Ben DuBose
HOUSTON -- The recent cyber attack against Saudi
Aramcos computer network illustrates the need for the
global oil and gas industry to work together on safety
technologies, the companys CEO said Tuesday.
Speaking at the annual IHS CERAWeek energy conference in
Houston, Khalid Al-Falih said the August 2012 incident should
serve as a wakeup call for both his company and the broader
What happens to one company happens to us all, he
As we know from last years vicious [cyber]
attack, there are a lot of bad guys out there.
Al-Falih, who delivered the opening keynote to the
conference, said his near-term outlook for the industry was
very positive. But that still carries risks, he cautioned to
the thousands of industry professionals in attendance.
A healthy picture should not make us complacent,
Al-Falih said. Though were on the right track, if
history teaches us anything, its that such rosy outlooks
do not always materialize.
If youre on the right track, you can still be
run over if you just sit there.
The easiest way for the metaphorical train to derail would
be on safety and environmental issues, he noted.
We must take ownership and accept that it is our
responsibility by embracing excellence in operations,
Al-Falih said. Sharing our technologies and best
practices is for the collective good.
In the case of cyber security, investment is critical,
according to the Aramco CEO. Based on prior measures taken, the
company did not lose any production as a result of the August
Invest and invest heavily and be aware of all the
scenarios that could happen, he said. Dont
underestimate the capability of the bad guys who may be trying
to penetrate your systems.
Its not petty crime anymore. Its organized
groups that have a lot of technology and resources at their
Aramco avoided significant damage because it had
rehearsed various scenarios and had plant
operations segregated from the groups that were touched, the
Nonetheless, the episode serves as a grave reminder of the
importance of cyber security.
Never underestimate how dependent you are on your
information technology network and
systems, Al-Falih said. Its become like
oxygen. You think you can live without it but you
Lose it and you become immediately
The IHS CERAWeek conference continues through Friday at the
Hilton Americas in downtown Houston.