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Illegal Tappings are the Main Factor in Criminal Intrusion into Trunk Pipeline Operation

Date of publication: 19 February 2018 Printable version

70% of all criminal offences are linked to oil and petroleum products theft.

As estimated by Transneft, nearly 70% of all illegal encroachments are offences related to oil and petroleum products theft, as Vladimir Svinarev, Advisor to President of Transneft, said during his speech at the Ensuring Integrated Safety and Anti-Terror Security of FES Facilities conference held on 15 February as part of the Security Technologies Forum.

According to Svinarev, a matter of special concern is illegal tappings into pipeline sections that cross water obstacles. These tappings are hard to find and difficult to eliminate; most importantly, they are highly dangerous in terms of environmental damage. In total, 289 illegal tappings to Transneft pipelines were detected in 2017 versus 300 in 2016.

Transneft relies on the State Duma’s support of a bill that alters the restrictions imposed by Art. 215.3 and criminalizes unauthorized tapping into oil, petroleum product and gas pipelines as well as damaging them out of operation. The bill is also supposed to increase penalties for such offences.

Route equipment theft (38 incidents in 2016 vs. 53 in 2015), burning vegetation in the immediate vicinity of FES facilities (249 cases in 2017 vs. 319 in 2016 and 118 in 2015), explosive objects on the premises of facilities and within protected zones of trunk pipelines (from 2015 onwards, more than 308 ammunition units from the Great Patriotic War have been discovered within the territories of FES manufacturing sites) posed a major threat to pipeline systems, Svinarev said.

Among the contemporary challenges and threats, the most important one is activities of terrorist and extremist organisations who strive to upset the operation of FES facilities. Another problem is multiple cases of illegal construction within protected zones: fences, enclosures and barriers, residential and non-residential permanent facilities.

“Moscow Region is the leader. The ring petroleum product trunk pipeline is a critical facility of some 500 km long that ensures fuel deliveries for operation of the Moscow transportation hub,” Svinarev said.

The issue can be solved by authorizing Transneft departmental security to register the offences as stipulated by Art 11.20.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Violating Bans or Failing to Observe Operating Procedures in Protected Zones of Trunk Pipelines). As of now, it is the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service (Rostechnadzor) of Russia that is empowered to deal with reports of such administrative offences.

“Departmental security of the Company whose specific purpose is ensuring facility security has no similar powers. The offences we detect remain without due regard and correct handling,” Svinarev stated.

Special emphasis is placed on threats to the information structure of Transneft, the software, the automated process control equipment.

“Cases of ”successful” cyberattacks on FES facilities are widely known. In May 2017, an attack which affected several FES facilities led to a shutdown of an oil quantity and quality measuring system that took place when product was being transferred into the trunk pipeline system,” Advisor to President of Transneft said.

This is why Transneft notes that the state must encourage all members of the involutional interaction to use domestic hardware and software.

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