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Friday September 29, 2023

Guidelines issued for protection of oil pipelines system

Sources say national network of oil pipelines starts from Karachi Port, is connected through Sindh to major oil installations in Punjab

September 08, 2023
A gas pipeline construction can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File
A gas pipeline construction can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Ministry of Energy has, for the first time, issued policy guidelines for cooperation amongst the security apparatus of National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Pakistan Army, security forces and law-enforcement agencies to protect the national oil pipeline system from cyber and terrorist attacks.

Sources in the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) told this reporter that according to the guidelines, issued for Security of the National Network of Oil Pipelines System 2023, 12 departments have been assigned security responsibilities, including civil armed forces, Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), Federal Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, NACTA, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Provincial Rapid Response Force, Special Branch and Special Protection Unit of the Punjab Police.

Sources said the national network of oil pipelines starts from Karachi Port and is connected through Sindh to major oil installations in Punjab with housing, pumping and terminal stations. PARCO’s Mid-Country Refinery at Muzaffargarh is the most important part of the network, which is connected to the national oil pipeline system. PARCO refinery has a 33 per cent share in meeting the energy needs of Pakistan’s national economy, defence and CPEC.

According to the Security Action Plan 2023, the Federal Ministry of Interior and NACTA will play a key role in protecting the national system of oil pipelines from cyber and terrorist attacks. To protect oil pipelines from terrorist and cyber security threats, the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, NACTA, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) and provincial governments would formulate short- and long-term policies within 30 days. Civil and military officials will work under one roof for strategic intelligence sharing to collate and compare intelligence on threats to oil pipelines.

All wings of the CTD, including intelligence, operations, investigation, Rapid Response Force and Special Security Units besides other technical sections, will combat conventional and non-conventional crimes against the national network of pipelines system.

The Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior will increase the capacity of the national security apparatus for security of pipelines. Field formations of internal security schemes of Pakistan Army and civil armed forces will perform their duties under the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior for security, safety and emergency response of important points of national oil pipelines. Sources said that a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) has been created to protect the national oil pipelines system from cyber attacks, which will be monitored by the Ministry of Information and Technology and Ministry of Interior. According to the new policy, provincial governments will legislate to declare oil pipelines and storage areas as red zones, so that no population can be built around them to reduce the risk of major accidents and terrorism.