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Saudi Energy Minister Stresses The Importance Of Oil Security

The world cannot go without Saudi oil exports for more than two or three weeks, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, said at a cybersecurity event in Riyadh.  

The biggest threat to global energy security comes from cyberattacks, the minister said at the Global Cybersecurity Forum, as quoted by The Saudi Gazette.  

“We are now recovering very quickly from cyber attacks, and it comes without prior warning or knowledge of their source,” Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said.

Saudi Arabia and other energy producers need to be always cautious and not take security for granted, the energy minister of the world’s largest crude oil exporter said.

Cyberattacks are among the greatest risks Saudi Aramco faces these days, Amin Nasser, president and chief executive officer at the world’s biggest oil firm, said in September.  

“Cyberattacks are one of the top risks we face at Aramco – on a par with natural disasters or physical attacks,” Nasser told the Global AI Summit 2022 in Riyadh.

“But while these attacks are growing in scale and severity, AI is helping fend off some of the threat. So our efforts should not only focus on greater efficiency or deeper customer insights, but also on security and resilience,” Saudi Aramco’s top executive added.  

Aramco itself has been subject to several cyber attacks in recent years, the most notorious being the 2012 Shamoon malware that wiped out every computer at the Saudi oil firm. In 2018, a variant of the Shamoon malware resurfaced, cybersecurity experts warned at the time. Last year, Aramco was targeted in a data leak that was the subject of a ransom demand of $50 million in cryptocurrency


In a physical attack that halted half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production for days, Aramco facilities were hit by drone attacks claimed by the Houthi rebels in September 2019.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on November 10 2022 said:
    When it comes to global oil supplies, energy security whether from cyberattacks, physical attacks or natural disasters is of quintessential importance to the global economy.

    Wars have been fought over oil and energy security in the past and many more could be fought in the future. The most prominent examples from the past are Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 to get its hands on Soviet oil resources in the Caucasus. Another example is the US imposing an oil embargo on Japan because of its occupation of Manchuria and Indo-China prompting Japan to attack Pearl Harbour and bringing the two countries into war. A third example is the 21st century's first oil war: the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.in order to get its hands on Iraq's spectacular oil wealth.

    China which is obsessed with its energy security has been spending hundreds of billions of dollars on building oil pipelines across Myanmar, investing with Russia in gas and oil pipelines across their birders to ensure energy security and building monitoring installations in Pakistan to protect its oil shipments from the Arab Gulf across both the Strait of Hormuz and the Malacca Strait

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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