Title: Jordan’s New Oil Sector: The Cyber Age of Hydrocarbon Security

Year of Publication: Apr - 2014
Page Numbers: 32-40
Authors: Nicolai Due-Gundersen
Conference Name: The International Conference on Computing Technology and Information Management (ICCTIM2014)
- United Arab Emirates


The MENA region has traditionally struggled with political precariousness. In the Gulf, oil wealth has provided a symbol of socio-economic disparity and a target for political attacks. Since 9/11, activities of ideologically-driven terrorism have increased. In addition, the so-called Arab Spring has further fuelled contention between the state and aggressive political actors. However, while most attacks by such groups have been physical, the ubiquity of internet dependence in both social and professional settings has given political cells a decentralized and far less tangible weapon that can have systemic socio-economic consequences for hydrocarbon nations. Consequences can range from disruption of refinery output to widespread infrastructural damage and even loss of life. With increasing cyber-attacks on oil infrastructure in the Gulf, many National Oil Companies are seeking to strengthen online security while retaining resource management independence. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan provides a proximate and fast growing ICT hub for the outsourcing of cyber security for hydrocarbon sectors. Jordan’s nascent ICT development provides flexible opportunities for cyber security advances in the hydrocarbon industry, which must be balanced with the risk of politicizing Jordan and inviting increased terrorist attacks amid the Kingdom’s need to formalize comprehensive responses to online threats.