Insight Magazine – Cybersecurity: energy firms face hidden threats

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Commodity trade flows around the world have shifted significantly in recent years, with the region – and China, in particular – playing a vital role. US shale oil is increasingly being shipped eastwards. Last year, China became the world’s largest crude oil importer, as well as its second-largest importer of LNG. The country is also taking a lead when it comes to new technology, generating massive demand for lithium and other battery metals to power electric vehicles. Go to page 54 for our section on China’s growing impact, which explores these themes and looks at how the country’s domestic and foreign policy stance may shape the future commodities landscape.

There are risks on the horizon – not least, the specter of a trade war fueled by tit-for-tat tariffs on trade. Indeed, shortly before Insight went to press, China raised the prospect of a 25% tariff on US LNG. That would have knock-on implications for US exports to China, which have been rising as Asia’s largest economy seeks to move away from coal (see page 8).

Markets elsewhere have their own worries. From page 19, Jared Anderson details how the US power sector is becoming concerned about public faith in market economics – with some industry observers complaining that wholesale markets are being distorted by successive government interventions. And today every market participant, no matter how large or small, must be wary of cybersecurity. In recent years, the financial industry has largely woken up to the risk of cyberattacks. But experts warn the energy sector is falling behind – especially given the chaos that could ensue from a catastrophic attack on a refinery, for example. Read our cover story from page 12 for more.

In this issue, we’re particularly proud to be shining a spotlight on the contribution of women in the commodities market. Academic studies point to an increase in financial performance at companies with greater gender diversity, but sadly energy and commodities firms lag behind others when it comes to attracting and developing female talent. Turn to page 34 to read the thoughts of five senior women leaders from firms such as BP, Repsol and Santos on how this issue can be addressed, with an introduction by Jodie Gunzberg of S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Finally, don’t forget to turn to page 79 to find out who the runners and riders are in the 2018 S&P Global Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings, our annual rankings recognizing outstanding financial performance.

Read the first article from September's Insight Magazine