Natural Gas Producer Hit by Malware Attack

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Qatari liquid natural gas (LNG) producer RasGas recently stated that part of its computer systems had been taken offline due to a virus infection.

"RasGas, a joint venture between QP and ExxonMobil, comprises seven giant LNG process trains in Ras Laffan, Qatar," writes ArabianOilandGas.com's Patrick Osgood. "The company exports 36.3 million tons a year of LNG, most of which under long-term contracts with customers in Korea, India, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Taiwan, and the Americas. The company is also responsible for around 10 percent of global helium production."

"Administrative services like email have been impacted by the virus, a company spokesperson confirmed to Doha News, which apparently struck on Aug. 27," Doha News reports. "She stressed, however, that LNG production in Ras Laffan and cargo deliveries have not been impacted and said all employees are reporting for work."

"The virus infection follows a strikingly similar attack against Saudi Aramco on 15 August, which hit 30,000 workstations and forced the world's largest oil company to suspend access to its internal and remote networks for 10 days," writes The Register's John Leyden.

"Rasgas' website and email servers have also been off this week, with emails to the company bouncing back as they do from Aramco," writes Reuters' Daniel Fineren. "A company spokeswoman was unable to say whether this was due to Rasgas shielding its electronic systems from more intrusions or the effect of the virus itself."

"James Herron, EMEA Energy News Editor at Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal, tweeted [yesterday] morning: 'Sources tell us the virus that shut down RasGas computers is also Shamoon, the virus widely-believed to have hit Aramco earlier this month,'" writes CNET News' Elinor Mills.

"Based on the information that is publicly available, the attacks on RasGas and Saudi Aramco appear to be major inconveniences rather than catastrophic events," writes Ars Technica's Dan Goodin. "Assuming that's truly the case, the unsung heroes are the engineers who separated e-mail and Web servers from critical energy production and delivery systems."