Updated: Dedrone Statement on Oil Pipeline Drone Attack

September 14, 2019

Saudi Aramco Temporarily Shuts Down Pipeline After Sustaining Damage from Drone

Saudi Aramco continues to respond to drone attacks to their facilities. In May 2019, a drone attack occurred on the country's main cross-country oil pipeline. As a precautionary measure, the organization, temporarily shut down the pipeline and contained the fire which caused minor damage to a pump station.

However, the issue of unauthorized drones in their airspace persisted and escalated. In September 2019, Saudi Aramco shut down half their crude production due to another drone attack. According to the Wall Street Journal, the production shutdown amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a day, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

These events highlight the risk of the wrong drone near an oil or gas storage facility, and the consequences to critical infrastructure, the environment, and economy.

Whether located in cities, rural communities, or offshore, traditional security at utilities is robust and designed to protect operations from a variety of threats, including natural disasters, theft, and terrorism. However, traditional security leaves a gap in the lower airspace, exposing a vulnerability which drones can penetrate with ease. For example, environmental protesters have used drones to interrupt operations at nuclear plants. Wayward drones are crashing into power lines and disrupting services to customers.Public utility managers are experiencing more drones in their airspace, but without enough information to hold trespassers accountable for damages caused by their intrusion. 

Dedrone is the global market and technology leader in airspace security and has worked with utilities around the world to protect their airspace from drone threats. When there is an alert to an unauthorized drone in a facility’s airspace, security operators will have the time to intercept the risk and determine the threat the drone poses, and avoid costly and inconvenient operational disruptions.

Additional references on how unauthorized drones can impact utilities:

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