OSLO, Norway, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- An international organization said Thursday a group of energy companies joined it in forming an industry body to tackle cybersecurity threats.
"We see that cyber-security incidents are increasing with attempted attacks on a daily basis," Rune Waerstad, an engineer at Royal Dutch Shell, said in a statement. "By collaborating with others in the industry, we can ensure that we end up with one globally applicable regulation that is suitable for the oil and gas sector."
The industry's certification body DNV GL estimates cybercrimes costs the energy and utilities sector about $12.8 million each year in lost business and equipment damage. For those focused on operations offshore, the group said a layer of confidence is needed as cybercrime evolves as a bigger and more complex threat to the industry.
So far, eight companies from Shell to Norwegian major Statoil teamed up to for an industry partnership to address the emerging threat. A report on the cost of cybercrime by HP Enterprise Security found energy and utility companies suffered a greater financial loss than the financial sector.
Analysis from Ernst & Young found more than 60 percent of the organizations tied to the oil and gas sector said they have the ability to even detect a sophisticated attack. Less than 30 percent lack a real-time insight into cyber threats.
With crude oil prices putting a squeeze on corporate spending, Ernst & Young said oil and gas companies have little leeway on where they put their financial focus. This, their report said, means cybersecurity may be lower on the priority than operations that would have more apparent value for shareholders.
DNV GL said the scope of the joint industry partnership was to offer guidelines to tackle the emerging threat. The industry body is already working alongside French supermajor Total to address risk management at its operations off the coast of Norway.
"Dealing with cyber-security challenges has become a key focus area for the oil and gas sector," DNV GL consultant Pal Borre Kristoffersen said. "Attacks are becoming increasingly costly and harder for companies to recover from."