LNG security breach prompts PHMSA advisory
Jan 2, 2007 11:56 AM
After security was breached recently at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an advisory for LNG operators, according to information in the Federal Register December 28.
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 following, 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.
PHMSA also is reminding operators that regulations require operators to implement security measures that deter intruders. These measures include written procedures, protective enclosures, security communication, lighting, and monitoring (49 CFR part 193, subpart J).
Operators must use staff who have been trained to carry out security duties through means that include security training (49 CFR 193.2709 and 2715). Operators need to implement these measures in ways that ensure personnel and systems detect trespassers and respond correctly.
PHMSA recommends LNG facility operators establish and follow suggested practices and procedures to ensure that their security measures function as intended by the regulations, and that security at their LNG plants is rigorous:
•Test systems thoroughly to verify that alarms work and that monitoring devices function as intended.
•Ensure remotely stationed personnel are properly trained on the security procedures of each facility that they monitor.
•Determine whether personnel monitoring security for an LNG plant can realistically respond to security breaches in a timely manner.
•Update security procedures as needed to provide effective security at the LNG plant and to incorporate the most relevant threat information.
•Confirm that remote monitoring station personnel properly coordinate activities with those parties responsible for LNG plant facility security.
•Independently audit LNG plant security or conduct unannounced tests of security systems, procedures, and personnel.
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