Page 38 - Security Today, March 2022
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Curbing Security Threats The oil and gas industry rely on thermal cameras to discover methane leaks
By Kai Moncino
Oil and natural gas play a fundamental role in fu- eling the worlds’ economy. Combined, oil and natural gas account for more than two-thirds of the energy the United States relies on daily. In November 2021 alone, the globe consumed an es- timated USD $99.7 million of petroleum and liquid fuels, accord- ing to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
On top of this, several key advances in technology, such as using carbon dioxide to extract more oil from older wells; building floating platforms and subsea production systems that expand the volumes of oil and natural gas resources recoverable from the deeper water areas of the ocean; and practicing approaches that enable oil and natural gas production in more environmentally sustainable ways, have enabled a dramatic increase in domestic oil and natural gas production over the past 20 years, according to the Department of Energy.
In effect, these developments have not only made oil and natural gas one of the most important resources to the United States and global energy markets; they have also made them some
of the most vulnerable resources to (1) foreign and domestic terror attacks and (2) asset failure, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars of energy and widespread environmental damage.
Recent attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities provide an obvious example of the vulnerability of large and often remote oil and gas extraction sites. Two years ago, when Yemen’s Houthi movement claimed credit for two attacks on Saudi facilities, the Saudi government had to shut-in 5.7 million barrels per day (Mb/d) of crude oil production, along with 0.7 Mb/d of natural gas liquids and 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. That amounted to more than half of Saudi oil production and about six percent of global oil production, according to Forbes.
Outside of physical attacks, when natural gases are extracted, transported, and refined, invisible gas leaks pose a quieter and consistently costly threat. In fact, the United States oil and natural gas industry loses approximately 1.4 to 2.3 percent of its natural gas from operations due to leaks, each year, according to the EPA.
Because the U.S. produces 33.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) per year, according to the EIA, these losses total anywhere from 4.69

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