EXCLUSIVE: Kuwait working on operational technology for Clean Fuels Project

21 March 2018
The operational technology for KNPC project will be ready in six to seven months

Kuwait’s state-owned refiner, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), is developing the operational technology (OT) for its $15bn-worth Clean Fuels Project.

“We are working on the OT aspect and are planning to go live in six to seven months from now,” a source working for KNPC has told MEED.

Operational technology is hardware and software for controlling and  monitoring devices such as valves and pumps within a plant.

The source confirmed that KNPC is on track to complete the Clean Fuels Project in 2019. MEED had reported that overall work on the project is 85 per cent complete.

The source said that the company providing technology and network services has also been mandated to emphasise on the cybersecurity aspect of the OT environment.

“We [KNPC team] are in touch with the cybersecurity people [at the service providing company]. We are working with them on how their technology is to be designed and what needs to be placed in different segments of the network,” the source said.

The debate about cybersecurity in the energy industry has been stroked again after the recently reported cyber attack on a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia.

Cyber attackers tried to trigger a deadly explosion at the petchem facility in the kingdom in August and failed only because of a code glitch, The New York Times reported.

Investigators declined to identify the suspected attackers, but people interviewed by the newspaper unanimously said that it most likely aimed to cause a blast that would have guaranteed casualties. A bug in the attackers' code accidentally shut down the system instead, according to the report.

The attempted attack on the Saudi plant has served as a “wake up call” for KNPC to boost its cyber defence system, the source said.

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