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Ayhan Gücüyener: ‘Critical energy infrastructure protection is becoming a growing concern for the industry and international cooperation is now crucial’

February 2015 by Ayhan Gücüyener

In January 2013, the energy industry experienced one of the most deadly attacks in recent years, the assault to the Algerian Tiguentourine gas complex that left 40 hostages dead and interrupted the activities of the complex significantly. This incident evidenced the increasing threat and need to protect critical energy infrastructure from the threat of terrorism.

The Pipeline Security 2015 Forum will feature a case study on the deadly militant attack on the Algeria pipeline. The presentation will be led by Ayhan Gücüyener, from the Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN). As a preview to her presentation at the Forum, she offered some very interesting insights and analysis of this incident.

IRN: Could you tell us a little bit more about the Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN) and its activities?

Ayhan Gücüyener: Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN) is an Istanbul-based think tank. HASEN’s mission is to produce genuine research and data to the broader Caspian region on energy, international affairs, logistics, security, economics, education, culture and environment. HASEN holds international meetings, publications and education endeavour, stimulating scientific debate and research. Caspian Strategy Institute’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Program aims to offer an alternative perspective on energy security, which is increasingly becoming a pressing concern in the Caspian region, including Turkey. The program’s mission is to provide accurate information to the decision makers in the public and private sectors by regularly hosting training activities, workshops, seminars and publishing reports.

IRN: Why is this attack still such an important topic for oil and gas security practitioners?

Ayhan Gücüyener: The attack on the Algerian Tiguentourine gas complex, which occurred in January 2013, was one of the largest assaults that the energy industry has experienced in recent years. This attack caused an enormous humanitarian and economic loss: 40 innocent people from 10 countries lost their lives and the activities of the complex were significantly interrupted. Even though we will never know whether this attack could have been prevented or not, there remains a critical question that the energy industry should answer: ‘What can the industry learn from that attack to improve its security and emergency preparedness for the future? My analysis on the Tiguentourine gas complex attack will offer ‘lessons learned and best practices’ which energy industry professionals should absolutely take into consideration.

IRN: What should we consider in getting ahead of a new ’wave’ of potential attacks on pipeline infrastructure?

Ayhan Gücüyener: Scientific statistics show us that critical energy infrastructure has been an attractive target for terrorist groups and this connection between energy and terror is growing. The Energy Infrastructure Attack Database shows that, in the last decade, there were nearly 400 attacks per year carried by non-state actors, whereas that figure was less than 200 prior to 1999. In such context, we should consider a more comprehensive ‘security’ approach for energy industry. This picture shows that critical energy infrastructure protection is becoming a growing concern for the industry and international cooperation is now crucial. The Pipeline Security Forum will provide us with a unique platform to share our security concerns and best practices in order to protect these extremely vulnerable assets.

Speakers will also include senior representatives from: Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey, Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, TANAP, GE Oil & Gas, West African Gas Pipeline Company, ConocoPhillips, Petrochina, ABB, Joint Venture In Salah Gas , Pico International Petroleum, NEPAL Oil & Gas, GAIL, BP and Sonatrach, amongst others.

The Pipeline Security Forum is sponsored by Fotech Solutions, Ortana and ASELSAN; and supported by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE).

More information can be found on the website

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