New Oil & Gas Cybersecurity Group Forms

The U.S. oil and gas industry is launching the Oil and Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ONG-ISAC) to protect critical energy information from cyberattacks.

The industry-owned and operated group, which will be based in Washington, D.C., will facilitate the exchange of information, evaluate risks and provide up-to-date security guidance to U.S. companies.

The group also will:

  • Allow participants to submit incidents either anonymously or with attribution via a secure web portal
  • Circulate information on threats and vulnerabilities among members, other ISACs, vendors and the U.S. government
  • Provide industry participants with access to cyber security experts
  • Alert participants of cyber threats deemed urgent or elevate in near real-time, within 60 minutes
  • Coordinate industry-wide responses to computer-based attacks
  • Ensure compliance with all anti-trust and federal disclosure guidelines

ONG-SAIC will follow the model set forth by the first ISACs created in 1998 under Presidential Decision Directive 63, Critical Infrastructure Protection. That mission was later expanded last year under President Policy Directive 21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience.

Companies from the upstream, midstream and downstream segments of the oil and gas industry are represented in the group, with commitments for membership from 25 companies. The group is expected to grow rapidly, said Curt Craig, who works as IT manager at Dallas-based Hunt Consolidated and is a member of the group’s founding board of directors and secretary of the board.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) expressed Thursday its support for ONG-ISAC, which will protect oil and gas infrastructure from cyberatttacks.

API helped form the center, but ONG-ISAC will exist as an independent group.

“Computer-based attacks are one of the fastest-growing threats to American businesses and infrastructure,” said API Vice President Kyle Isakower in a June 26 press statement. “The center builds on existing programs to help companies quickly identify and respond to threats against energy production and distribution systems such as refineries and pipelines and stay connected with law enforcement agencies.”

At this stage, ONG-ISAC does not have regular or full-time employees. The group is being formed and led by a board of directors who are all volunteers, Craig told Rigzone. The group’s founding board has been appointed for a six-month tenure from April to October of this year. Once the member is formed, the founding board will step down, and elections for a new board will be held.

ONG-ISAC is working hard to align its services with what member companies will want, said Craig, and to make sure the group adds the most value for oil and gas companies.


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