Digitalization Improves US Shale Operations but Can Compromise Cybersecurity

Expanding the interface between information technology and operational technology makes cybersecurity more challenging and more critical than ever, Siemens Energy cybersecurity expert Sam Miorelli warned shale operators at DUG East.

(Source: Hart Energy, Shutterstock.com)

PITTSBURGH—On one hand, the incorporation of new technologies are helping U.S. shale producers improve operational efficiency in the oil patch.

However, on the other hand, the adoption of these new digital tools and devices are inherently making shale producer operations less safe, according to Sam Miorelli, global head of cybersecurity for industrial applications at Siemens Energy.

“Evolving business models are making digitalization a competitive advantage,” Miorelli told the audience at Hart Energy’s DUG East Conference and Exhibition on June 14. “We get efficiency by bringing in more computers and optimizing processes,” but adding digital tools increases the attack surface exposed to cyberthreats.

These changes, he said, make oil and gas companies the new cyberattack frontier.

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