Bolt Cutters Expose Vulnerability of North America’s Oil Pipeline Grid

All it took was a pair of bolt cutters and the elbow grease of a few climate activists to carry out an audacious act of sabotage on North America’s massive oil and gas pipeline system.

For an industry increasingly reliant on gadgets such as digital sensors, infrared cameras and drones to monitor security and check for leaks, the sabotage illustrated how vulnerable pipelines are to low-tech attacks.

On Tuesday, climate activists broke through fences and cut locks and chains simultaneously in several states and simply turned the pipelines off.

“You’re not manning these things on a permanent basis. It’s not viable,” said Stewart Dewar, a project manager at Senstar, an Ottawa-based company that authored a 2012 white paper on pipeline security. “It’s too expensive.”

 

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Photo via Shannon Patrick

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. Sam spent over three years deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He's now the conflict and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

3 Comments

    1. I’m just pointing out how vulnerable we are to systems disruption. It’s going to happen at some point, so the more Americans who are aware, the more that can prepare, and ultimately the better off our families and communities are.

  1. Security had better become the oil .industry responsibility .
    The waste and the profit has been an easy ride far to long .
    The same applies to the electric , .water, and natural gas industry !

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