ABU DHABI, 8th November, 2016 (WAM)— Oil and gas companies must be proactive in adapting to the industry’s changing security landscape, according to General Sir Richard Shirreff, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The oil industry face an increasingly complex, increasingly interconnected range of threats from technology and geopolitics. To counter this, they need to shift their approach to security from one of reacting to threats, to one of preventing them, Shirreff said while speaking on the sidelines of his keynote address at the Security in Energy’ Conference, held as part of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference ( ADIPEC 2016).

“Those operating in complex environments need to think of risk strategically. Security is more than having weapons and guards at your door – it is state of mind and stems from within the society in which it operates.

Unfortunately it is too often the case that the industry has a binary sense of security. Companies must understand that these risks are interrelated; what you do on the tech side, for example, could have an impact environmentally, socially, and on security.”

The former NATO commander said the oil and gas industries had a better understanding than many of how to manage security issues effectively, due to their experience of managing extensive critical infrastructure, often in sensitive environments.

Companies need to think “comprehensively, and cohesively about risk management”, building bridges with multiple stakeholders, understanding the environments they operated in, being aware of geopolitical, transnational, and local risks.

This includes working to build stability in fragile communities, recognising that good governance, healthcare, education, and employment opportunities all contribute towards their own operational security.

WAM/MMYS