Post-conflict environment, narcoterrorism and community engagement – key security challenges for Latin American oil and gas companies

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IRN recently hosted the inaugural Latin America and Caribbean Oil & Gas Security 2015 Forum on 17th-18th March at the Estelar La Fontana Hotel in Bogota, Colombia.

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Latin America and Caribbean’s oil and gas sector has vastly grown in recent years; however, security remains as key concern for national and international companies operating in the area. The Latin America and Caribbean Oil & Gas Security 2015 Forum, recently hosted by IRN in Bogota, gathered representatives from the Ministry of Defence, the National Army of Colombia, the Colombian Navy and other security experts, providing a platform to discuss challenges around securing this critical infrastructure.

The importance of coordinating and liaising well with other security experts, within the military, competitive companies and other industry experts associates, to enhance security across the sector and borders in Latin America was stressed in several presentations throughout the two days. Another matter frequently addressed by speakers was the overwhelming threat of kidnap in this region, with the estimate figure of around 50-60% of kidnappings worldwide taking place in Latin America. The Central & South America Corporate Security Regional Manager for NOV – National Oilwell Varco analysed this threat with a presentation on how to form a thorough and effective safety feature and personal security briefing for employees, particularly those who are foreign or new to the region of operation.

Amongst other topical presentations was the session by the Corporate Director for Personal and Property Security for Tecpetrol on the importance of security for the oil and gas sector in the post-conflict Colombia. The expert analysed the current situation and offered proposals for achieving an effective company security system in light of the security climate that will arise following the ongoing peace process between FARC and the Colombian Government.

Latin America’s terrorist groups are not the only direct and deadly threat the region faces at the moment. The strong connection between the narcotics trade in the area and the security challenges for the oil and gas industry in the region was covered by the senior speaking delegation at the Forum, who highlighted the importance of viewing this problem and so the solution to it, as a whole and not separately.

Another point echoed several times over the two days was the aspect of community engagement, and how wealth disparity has deeply affected security in the region as a whole, and by extension has a negative impact on security for the oil and gas industry. A representative from the National Army of Colombia offered a presentation on companies and human rights, explaining how businesses’ activities need to operate always under these premises’ scope. Another expert from UNDP-Colombia analysed in his presentation all the social risks for extractive industries operating in Latin America.

The Speaking Panel included senior security representatives from Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force-Ministry of National Security, NOV – National Oilwell Varco, Tecpetrol, Schlumberger, Colombian Air Force, SINOPEC Argentina, Americas Petrogas, National Army of Colombia, UNDP-Colombia, Pluspetrol, CISEN México, National Police of Colombia, Petrobras Colombia, ASIS and Vipers Seguridad.

The Latin America and Caribbean Oil & Gas Security Forum 2015 was sponsored by STEELE Corporate Security and Advisory Services, Atmos International, Neosecure, Palo Alto Networks, Afimac, Thales, Oracle, Abloy, Tyco Security Products and Companía Andina de Seguridad Ltda ANDISEG. The Forum is also supported by the Colombian Navy, the Latin American Security Association, the Industrial Cybersecurity Center (CCI), the DNI (Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia) and the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota. IRN also partnered with charity organisation – Mission 500, a strictly non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis.

Photos and more information can be found on the website Documentation and presentations are available for purchase for those who were unable to attend.

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Cristina Rivero
since: 08/2013
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