Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister was Editor of IFSEC Global from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam is also a former Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
February 6, 2015

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Lessons for the Energy Industry from the Tiguentourine Terror Attack

Mi 25 Gunship

A Russian built Mi-24 Gunship was used in the rescue attempt (photo: Russavia under CC3.0 licence)

The terror attack that left 40 hostages dead at an Algerian gas facility in 2013 was a chilling reminder that the energy sector is as much a terror target as aircraft, shopping malls or French satirical magazines.

Not that the government was ignorant that critical national infrastructure represents a high-value target for militants. Protecting water, oil and gas, electricity and other key assets forms a key plank of counter-terror strategies around the world.

A case study on the Algerian Tiguentourine gas complex will feature at the Pipeline Security 2015 Forum on 25-26 March. Below is an interview with the person leading that session, Ayhan Gücüyener from the Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN).

IFSEC Global: Please tell us a bit about the Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN)…

ayhan (2)Ayhan Gücüyener: The Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN) is an Istanbul-based think tank. HASEN’s mission is to produce genuine research and data to the broader Caspian region on energy, international affairs, logistics, security, economics, education, culture and environment.

HASEN holds international meetings, publications and education endeavour, stimulating scientific debate and research. Caspian Strategy Institute’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Programme aims to offer an alternative perspective on energy security, which is increasingly becoming a pressing concern in the Caspian region, including Turkey.

The programme’s mission is to provide accurate information to decision makers in the public and private sectors by regularly hosting training activities, workshops, seminars and publishing reports.

IG: Why is the Algerian gas siege such a worthy case study for a security industry forum?

AG: The attack on the Algerian Tiguentourine gas complex was one of the largest assaults that the energy industry has experienced in recent years. This attack caused an enormous humanitarian and economic loss: 40 innocent people from 10 countries lost their lives and the activities of the complex were significantly interrupted.

Even though we will never know whether this attack could have been prevented or not, there remains a critical question that the energy industry should answer: “What can the industry learn from that attack to improve its security and emergency preparedness for the future?”

My analysis on the Tiguentourine gas complex attack will offer ‘lessons learned and best practices’ which energy industry professionals should absolutely take into consideration.

IG: What should we consider in getting ahead of a new ‘wave’ of potential attacks on pipeline infrastructure?

AG: Statistics show us that critical energy infrastructure has been an attractive target for terrorist groups and this connection between energy and terror is growing.

The Energy Infrastructure Attack Database shows that, in the last decade, there were nearly 400 attacks per year carried by non-state actors, whereas that figure was less than 200 prior to 1999. In such context, we should consider a more comprehensive ‘security’ approach for energy industry.

This picture shows that critical energy infrastructure protection is a growing concern for the industry and international cooperation is now crucial.

The Pipeline Security Forum will provide us with a unique platform to share our security concerns and best practices in order to protect these extremely vulnerable assets.

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