Thinking about cyber and energy goes back to a great myth, which may or may not be true. It has long been rumored that agents of the Soviet government illegally obtained an industrial control computer by clandestine means from a Canadian manufacturer in the 1980s.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), founded in 1989 and headquartered in Calgary, possesses a diversified combination of assets in North America, the North Sea and offshore Africa and is the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producer in Canada.

Oil and gas pipelines provide a significant amount of America’s energy demands. Like most energy infrastructure, pipelines rely on Industrial Control Systems (ICS), including Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, that function on computerized and communication networks. As a result, these networks present vulnerability and can be targets of cyber threats.

Good Human Machine Interface (HMI) design is essential to maximizing the value of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. As SCADA and instrumentation technology has advanced, it has become easier and less costly to add information to the displays.

The Secret War: Stuxnet, Duqu And Flame
The highly complex computer worm called Stuxnet, targeted at sophisticated industrial control systems, was first identified in July 2010. The arrival of Stuxnet changed everything . . . it was a harbinger of the shape of things to come.

Your geologists found natural gas hiding thousands of feet underground. Your legal team negotiated rights of way with landowners. Your drilling team went down a mile or so, made a horizontal turn and “fracked” the shale bed, releasing the gas. Your well is producing. So now what?

Traditional satellite communications have had a stigma of being expensive and requiring large, power-hungry terminals that are complex to integrate with your applications.

For many years, pipeline operators have been required to communicate safety information to emergency officials; however, actually making a difference with this type of communication is dependent upon the driver behind the effort. Is the operator merely checking the box to meet a compliance requirement or is the operator effectively communicating the right information to the right people in a timely manner?

It’s a mouthful (take a deep breath), but the mission of the Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association (“ENTELEC”) is to advance knowledge and ideas concerning the engineering, design, construction, maintenance, administration, and operations of telecommunications, automation, electric power, information processing systems, and other electrical and electronic facilities employed in the energy industry.

The management of complex gas and oil pipeline systems demands constant, reliable system-wide control. Typically this is accomplished with system-wide monitoring and control using sophisticated System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) equipment.

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