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Russia Develops Drone-Disabling Systems To Protect Oil Facilities

Russian state-controlled cybersecurity company Concern Avtomatika JSC is selling systems capable of disabling drones that target oil facilities—technology that has become sought-after in Russia and abroad after the attacks on Saudi oil facilities last September.

Concern Avtomatika, part of state-run Rostec Corporation, has signed deals with several Russian oil firms to sell them anti-drone systems and is in talks with the top oil producer Rosneft and the biggest natural gas producer Gazprom, Vladimir Kabanov, General Director at Concern Avtomatika, told Bloomberg in an interview this week.

“Energy infrastructure is basically hardly protected from any physical air attack,” Kabanov said.

Last year, drone attacks on the Abqaiq facility and the Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia halted half of the oil production at the world’s top oil exporter, highlighting the threat that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can pose to oil infrastructure. The attacks on Saudi Arabia’s key oil infrastructure cut off some 5 percent of global oil supply for weeks and sent oil prices surging, albeit for just a few days.

Russia’s Concern Avtomatika already has agreements with Russian oil producer Tatneft and with refiner Slavneft-YANOS, and is looking to finalize a deal with a foreign customer in June, Kabanov told Bloomberg. The Russian firm is also negotiating contracts with Middle Eastern, Asia, and African companies, he added.  

Concern Avtomatika produces systems that disable drones automatically, semi-automatically, or with an operator, the manager says, without elaborating how exactly those systems work.

The terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure have shown that drones could be a threat to companies around the world, including in Russia, Rostec Corporation’s Executive Director Oleg Yevtushenko said at the signing of Concern Avtomatika’s deal with refinery Slavneft-YANOS last month.

Yevtushenko said even amateur drones could be used for surveillance and reconnaissance or carrying explosives or other weapons. Concern Avtomatika’s anti-UAV systems use unique algorithms that do not interrupt the operation of the surrounding telecommunication systems, Rostec’s boss added.  

By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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