The Russia-Ukraine conflict is entering its second month, and global powers are gearing up for a prolonged conflict. NATO has approved plans to move troops to its eastern countries to deter Russian aggression on NATO territory. Along with increased military aid to Ukraine, the US committed to accepting 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. President Biden also hinted that NATO would respond “in kind” if Russia uses chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine. As the West strengthens its stance against Russia, Russia also seems to be preparing for conflict with the West.
The FBI received notice this week that at least five US energy companies had been probed by hacking attempts – a common precursor to an attack. Other sectors are also at risk, with at least 18 non-energy companies reporting scans. The FBI has not reported which energy companies were threatened, and attacks could range from electric utilities to nuclear power plants to oil pipelines. The US saw how debilitating an energy cyberattack can be when the Colonial Pipeline went down last year, taking 100 million gallons per day of fuel transportation with it.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis has certainly brought volatility to fuel markets, but an attack on a US company could bring far more challenges closer to home. For the fuel industry, an attack could target a pipeline, major refiners, terminal operators, or even fuel distributors to create confusion. More than ever, it’s imperative for fuel buyers to have both price risk management policies and emergency fuel programs in place to prevent severe business disruptions. Having a plan can be the difference between your equipment staying on the road or being hamstrung during a crisis – so act now.