clearly a top priority for people and nations all around the
globe, has become an especially crucial issue for the oil industry.
That's one reason why Bobby Gillham, the head of
global security for Conoco Inc., will be the featured speaker for
the DPA Luncheon at the AAPG Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.
Gillham, who was a 25-year special agent with the
FBI, is an expert in industry security issues.
"Following the 9/11 attacks we faced two primary
issues -- securing our facilities and travel," he told the EXPLORER.
"Al-Qaeda has stated that taking down the U.S. economy is one of
their goals, and obviously our industry is part of the backbone
of U.S. infrastructure and economy. Attacking our facilities, therefore,
would have serious consequences for the country.
"This is the number one security concern of the petroleum
Facility security was an issue prior to 9/11, but
it was primarily for safety reasons: "We didn't want somebody wandering
in and causing an accident or hurting themselves," he said.
"Today we have to take an entirely different approach
and attempt to anticipate how our facilities could be attacked and
what vulnerabilities exist," he said. "Of course, that is a significant
cost issue as well -- it is very expensive to implement significantly
more stringent security measures, and that in itself is impacting
the nation's economy."
The second serious issue for oil companies is travel.
"We (Conoco) have hundreds of people traveling globally
all the time," he said. "At the time of 9/11 we froze all our people
en route, wherever they were, and we had 700 people out there, somewhere,
who we had to safely get home.
"So travel, particularly overseas, is an area where
we have worked to enhance policies and make it as safe as possible."
One critical outgrowth from the 9/11 attacks has been
the partnerships between the federal government and critical industries.
"The federal government has worked very hard to assist
industries like ours that are part of the infrastructure of the
country," Gillham said.
An example of that cooperation came when Conoco asked
the DOE, which runs the national laboratories, to share security
policies and measures at the labs with the industry.
"We knew that Sandia National Laboratory had done
extensive security research to protect nuclear facilities," Gillham
said. "DOE was happy to coordinate an exhibition for the industry
on various technologies the labs had developed that could help us
secure our facilities."
One technology they had developed was geared toward
securing the perimeter of a site.
"After 9/11, oil companies immediately began looking
at refineries in particular and how to protect the perimeters of
those plants," he said. "The first option we studied was concrete
barriers, but we discovered those cost $600 per 20 feet, and we
have a lot of feet around a refinery."
Sandia, however, had researched and developed a process
for using steel cables with existing fencing that when properly
installed would stop a truck from penetrating a fence line at a
cost of $20 to $40 per 20 feet.
"That kind of cooperation has been immensely beneficial,"
Perhaps more importantly, however, has been the sharing
of information by the federal government. Gillham said a number
of security professionals within the petroleum industry have been
given national security clearances and included in classified intelligence
briefings on terrorist activity.
That clearance helped when, on the morning following
President Bush's 48-hour deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq
or face war, Gillham and colleagues in other critical industries
were briefed via teleconference by the Department of Homeland Security
on the higher terrorist alert levels. Security officials also were
given the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns.
The government also has created the National Infrastructure
Protection Center, which is now part of the Department of Homeland
Security, as a repository for intelligence from an amalgamation
of analysts, CIA, FBI, Coast Guard, defense and intelligence agencies.
"When I am in Washington I go to the center to get
briefed on the most recent intelligence," Gillham said. "It is critical
to have one center coordinating all the information."
The industries themselves have worked to enhance
cooperation and information sharing among companies. Information
Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACS) have been established for various
industries, providing computer access to a database for shared information
about threats, vulnerabilities, potential attacks, potential surveillance
at sites and a mechanism for the federal government to put out prompt
and timely threat information.
"There is nothing proprietary about security," Gillham
said, "and since 9/11 we have stepped up our efforts to share information
between companies about what we are doing and our concerns. ISACS
has certainly helped in that effort."
Targets to Protect
Gillham said the infrastructure of most concern in
the petroleum industry is refineries, storage terminals, transportation
(ships and trucks) and waterways where many facilities are located.
"We have trucks located all over the place carrying
explosive fuels that can create a big bang," he said. "Pipelines
are less vulnerable because most are underground and we have quite
a bit of experience dealing with attacks from that great terrorist
instrument, the backhoe -- we can repair lines very quickly.
"That's not to say there aren't several sites where
a number of pipelines converge that are an issue."
Production facilities are not high on the priority
list as potential targets because they do not create the kind of
mayhem terrorists crave. Gillham said even an offshore platform
taken off line would not cause a significant impact on oil or gas
"We could even lose a refinery or two and within
90 to 120 days be back up to speed with just a hiccup in the economy,"
he said, "but if we lose five or six refineries when we are running
at 96 to 97 percent of capacity, that is a serious problem."
Gillham also will speak in Salt Lake City about security
issues involving international activities, e-commerce and computers.
"The United States and U.S. companies have come a
long way in improving security since 9/11, and that effort will
continue," he said. "When this country kicks in we can really make
an impact, and that is exactly what's happened in securing our nation.
"The petroleum industry and the nation in general
are far more safe today than we ever imagined we would need to be."