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LNG security breach prompts advisory

After security was breached recently at a liquefied natural gas facility, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an advisory for LNG operators, according to the Federal Register.

The advisory followed the security breach at an LNG facility, where the operator discovered that intruders had broken through the gate to gain access to a storage tank. The incident was discovered during routine maintenance on a gate at the side of the storage tank. Further investigation revealed that the intruders had cut through the outer and inner perimeter fences and through the locked gate and gained access to the storage tank several days before the breach was discovered.

A microwave intrusion system documented the security breach on the computer monitoring system, which should have alerted operator personnel to the intrusions. Operator personnel did not respond. In the days thereafter, personnel conducted several routine visual inspections of the area without noting the cuts in the fences. Although there was also video surveillance of the perimeter, personnel did not review the tape until they investigated the breach.

State authorities responded quickly to examine security at other LNG facilities in the state. These authorities inspected operator practices and procedures to ensure personnel and systems respond correctly during a security breach.

PHMSA said operators need to verify the reliability and feasibility of security procedures and systems. Operators also need to ensure personnel and systems respond correctly when security is compromised.

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