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In a period marked by rapid digital transformation, dynamic market shifts, and increasing geopolitical incertitude, centralised access control solutions could provide the oil and gas sector with the flexibility it requires to successfully adapt to emerging needs and risks.

Accounting for 48% of global crude oil reserves and 40% of proven natural gas reserves in 2020, Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates represent key players in the global economy. The area’s critical role in the world’s fossil fuel infrastructure but also the escalating political tensions and increase in terrorist attacks and cyber crimes make it a priority for oil and gas companies to ensure high security and safety levels at their facilities.

Follow us as we dive into the five main benefits of using a unified access control system to mitigate security challenges across upstream, midstream, and downstream operations in the Middle East region.

1. Holistic approach to security strategy using a unified system

A centralised access control system enables your company to manage and monitor authorisations remotely and enforce strong security policies and procedures across multiple locations from one single platform. At the same time, this solution can help you personalise the security setup to match the need of each facility while still ensuring compliance with industry standards and legislation.

Considering that oil and gas production facilities in remote locations are frequent targets for terrorist and militant group attacks, a unified physical security system could help provide a timely, accurate, and efficient response to such threats.

2. Flexibility and scalability with key integrations

Any robust centralised system for access control relies on integrations to ensure safe organisational growth and business continuity in ever-changing environments.

In other words, integrated access control solutions can provide oil and gas facilities with a strong yet flexible defence architecture against potential threats through a wide range of technology integrations, including card readers, biometric identification, visitor management, video surveillance, intrusion detection, and long-range readers for
vehicle identification.

Thus, centralised access control is the best way to add more functionality to your security system as your business needs change and your company expands in new locations.

3. Cost and time-saving solution for operational efficiency

There are two ways we can look at the role of centralised access control in streamlining security workflows and cutting costs in the oil and gas sector.

First, a unified system balances high security levels with mobility by allowing employees and contractors to use the same ID card when accessing different facilities. Also, it creates frictionless experiences by asking visitors to pre-register into the system and assigning them a QR code they can quickly scan when entering the reception area.

On the other hand, centralised access control solutions require minimal effort from your IT teams in terms of setup and maintenance processes, integrating easily with your IT network from the beginning. Moreover, these systems help security personnel not only manage authorisations and control access centrally but also automate security processes in case of serious threats and emergencies. 

4. Sounder information security / cybersecurity practices

“The areas most at risk in Middle Eastern oil and gas companies are believed to be exploratory information, production information, potential partners, financial and organizational reports, operational data, information on drilling sites, and field production data collected by sensors.”— Security Week, Oil and Gas Sector in Middle East Hit by Serious Security Incidents

Cyber crime is one of the most recent risks for oil and gas companies, which was brought about by digitalisation. Like any other of your IT systems, physical access control is prone to cyber attacks, endangering your sensitive data, daily operations, and the safety of the people within those locations.

Fortunately, centralised access control solutions ensure that each element within your access control system and the communications between them across all locations stay secure.

For example, Nedap’s AEOS access control system allows you to take control of
cybersecurity and set security controls for every component within the system based on your specific security needs.

 

5. Consistent data sharing and regulatory compliance to remove human error

Each oil and gas supplier in the Middle East has their own national laws covering workplace conditions, worker safety, and environmental protection for onshore and offshore operations. These regulations are meant to minimise the frequency and severity of safety and security incidents at energy facilities.

The good news is you can effortlessly ensure regulatory compliance through a unified access control system that optimises security operations, secures premises across different locations, automates responses to accelerate threat detection and eliminate human error and provides detailed reports for data analysis.

As shown in the Oil Sentinel Security report from S&P Global Platts, the Middle East represents the world’s most vulnerable region in the oil and gas industry, comprising about
45% of global supply disruptions from 2017 to 2021.

Nevertheless, consistent investments in centralised physical access control solutions could help companies become more resilient in the face of rising threats and gain a proactive approach in times of uncertainty. To find out more about how AEOS, our centralised access control system, can support you in protecting people and assets, please contact our team.