The energy sector mainly comprises of all the industries that are involved in the production and sale of energy and include fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining, and distribution. Energy consumption all over the world has increased immensely. This has been caused by the expanded industries set up, new technologies and the increased demand for energy by the increasing population. The energy sector plays a crucial role today and remains to be one of the most critical industries. This has made every country all over the world to make considerable investments in the management of the energy sector. They have continued to make significant investments in the development of energy resources. Almost all other industries rely heavily on the energy industry to operate. This means that as time goes on and other sectors continue to evolve, there will be increased consumption of energy all over the world. This seems to be a huge challenge across the globe to keep up with the increased use due to the different risks and problems that the energy sector is facing. The availability of specific energy resources especially the nonrenewable energy resources poses a significant threat to the energy sector as they face extinction. Energy resources such as petroleum, coal and natural gas which are heavily relied on for energy, are considered to become depilated after a particular period time, and this has been a threat to the energy sector.
This paper discusses the significant threats facing the energy sector and the impact they have on the industry. The article also discusses the role the private sector has played to ensure that the energy sector continues to provide its services. It will outline a primary plan on the various actions being carried to ensure that the threats and challenges facing the energy sector are tackled over time.
Today the world relies heavily on energy starting from transportation, health, security to communication. Any threats to the energy sector mean that that will be a threat to other industries too. Energy is used as a form of security by countries. The defense department relies heavily on petroleum for most of its needs. This rules out that oil producing countries have a strong defense system compared to those that import oil. These countries use these energy resources as a form of security for their economy. Energy controls a massive chunk of the economy all over the world. A rise in petroleum prices will lead to an increase in the price of other items in the market. This shows how the energy sector is crucial for management all over the world.
Some of the threats affecting the energy sector include global warming, political instability in the energy producing countries, competition over the energy sources, terrorism, natural disaster, attacks on the supply infrastructure, and accidents. Cybersecurity is one of the fast-rising threats that is affecting energy today. Global warming has been a huge bother all over the world and remains one of the major concerns today. The energy industry has had a massive influence on climate change which is a big concern. Fossil fuel emission, one of the most used energy resources, has been an enormous contributor to the greenhouse effect leading to global warming. To save the world from climate change, environmentalists are suggesting that the world shifts from these resources that have carbon emissions to cleaner energy. This has seen some organizations been redundant in investing in fossil fuels altogether. Almost 80% of the world relies heavily on fossil fuel as a source of energy. This creates a hard time shifting to other cleaner sources as these other sources can sustain the rate of consumption. Global warming remains a considerable concern as this creates a dilemma in the energy sector as investors have to choose whether to invest in these carbon-emitting energy sources which are heavily relied on or, they spend on the cleaner energy and save the world from global warming.
Political instability in energy-producing countries is a massive threat to the energy sector. As mentioned earlier, energy is a form of security to the economy of a nation. Political instability may cause a marked decrease in productivity for the energy sector in the energy producing countries. The Middle East, which is the largest energy producer in terms of crude oil has experienced a lot of political instability all over the years. Political wars with the aim of controlling the energy sector since it is the largest revenue collector in these countries has affected the energy sector in terms of production and processing of energy. Political instability causes tension as no regulations are governing the energy sector and this may lead to severe issues in the energy industry. Political instability has also caused foreign investors to pull out their investments from the energy sector, and this has caused reduced production of energy.
Natural disasters and accidents are a significant threat to the energy industry. Oil spillage accidents or nuclear leakage accidents can lead to loss of lives and pollution to the environment. Such collisions will lead to huge losses to the energy sector in terms of cleaning up after the accidents. Natural disasters such as floods, hail storms and hurricanes harm the production of energy. , and this has affected the production of energy.
Cybersecurity has been a huge threat to the economy, and in recent years it has been linked to being a threat to the energy sector. The changing dynamic of cyber threats continues to create a big worry in the energy sector. The wars on the energy sector have taken a considerable turn from where most countries would worry about their rival nations attacking them using ballistic missiles and flying bombers to cyber wars. The attacks on the energy sources in these countries are described to be silent and no physical contact involved. The results are almost the same. Most of the energy industries have adopted technology in their day to day activities. Through technology, they can carry out their operations smoothly without any accidents. Malicious codes are sent to their techniques from attackers via the web or other means, and this disrupts services. Over the recent years, there have been various cases reported where hackers can gain access to the energy industries causing disruptions to the power grids, utilities, and pipeline companies. These hackers may also aim at stealing crucial information from the sectors. Such attacks will lead to loss of property and sometimes loss of lives. Vast amounts of money are spent trying to clean up the messes caused by these attacks.
Private Sector Contribution
The increased threats in the energy sector show that there is an urgent need to set up strategies that will help eliminate and curb these threats. The government together with the private sector have collaborated to manage the risks in the energy infrastructure. Such partnerships have proved to be crucial in the sharing of security-related information and maximizing the effectiveness of energy protection and resilience efforts. The private sector has dramatically influenced the success of the department of homeland security. This shows the need for the government sectors to collaborate with the private sectors with the aim of fighting the threats affecting the energy industry.
The collaboration between the government agencies and the private sector has enabled the incorporation of capabilities of other entities into the organization’s continuity planning. It has also allowed smooth coordination on risk assessments and has been able to identify the threats that are relevant to the organization’s mission and location. It has also ensured that there is a timely, reliable, and secure exchange of information. It is important to have timely and accurate information about the risks in the energy sector to be able to mitigate these risks. To ensure that such information is shared, there must be a genuine relationship between the different stakeholders in the energy sector. The decisions makers who are responsible for implementing the risks management programs need to have trustworthy relationships to be able to provide an adequate foundation for coordinated response functions and useful information sharing initiatives. Homeland security has been able to set up an information network department that offers a national platform for sharing homeland security information with the private sector partners.
The collaboration between the private sector and the government agencies in the energy sector has enabled the preparation for and response to incidents to reduce the impacts arising from the disasters. Incident response planning and exercise is a crucial part of the energy sector to minimize the disruption of essential infrastructure functions and information and the consequences they have during an incident. The private sector has been able to develop and apply facility and system risk assessment techniques and has prioritized their properties for protection for restoration and recovery from the threats. To create an improved resilience, the private sector and government have collaborated through inventory, equipment sharing, and operational activities. They have created redundancy in electricity and oil and natural gas systems to improve the resilience of operation and reliability of service.