Logo: University of Southern California

Northrop Grumman and USC Energy Institute Collaborate to Improve Security for the Oil and Gas Industry

Northrop Grumman and USCEI work together to improve protection of critical infrastructure
By: Megan Hazle
June 04, 2013 —

Northrop Grumman and the USC Energy Institute (USCEI), located in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, have agreed to work together in developing capabilities to support the application of integrated cyber and physical security systems to the critical infrastructure of the oil and gas industry. This collaboration expands the breadth and depth of the long-standing relationship between Northrop Grumman and USC. The program uniquely combines Northrop Grumman’s world-class capabilities, experience, and linkages in defense, physical and cyber security, and information systems, with USC’s leading strengths in petroleum engineering and operations, advanced information systems, and cyber security technology development. To enable the program’s development and the engagement with the oil and gas industry, Northrop Grumman will provide a grant to USCEI.

According to Dr. Donald Paul, Executive Director of the USC Energy Institute, “This USC-NGC program adds an exciting new and vital dimension to the mission of the USCEI and builds on the long-standing relationship of the university with Northrop Grumman. The program supports the development of unique technical and operational capabilities to support the oil and gas industry in securing their critical infrastructures from an increasingly complex set of threats.”

The plans for the USCEI-Northrop Grumman collaboration will involve an integrated technology and process systems approach to securing oil and gas infrastructure, including physical protection, operational integrity and resilience, and defense against cyber attack. For example, in the cyber protection area, a full security solution must encompass both the 'pure IT' networks as well as the field and facility control networks that are essential to the operation of oil and gas production, processing, and distribution facilities.

The program developed through the Northrop Grumman-USCEI collaboration will be designed to go beyond traditional R&D approaches to focus on complex system integration, the convergence of cyber and physical security technologies, and the development of field demonstrations of scale with key oil and gas industry partners. These programs will also create new educational, employment, and workforce development opportunities at the intersection of IT, security, energy infrastructure, and petroleum engineering.