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April 29, 2022updated 03 May 2022 9:22am

Filings buzz in oil and gas industry: 55% increase in cybersecurity mentions since Q4 of 2020

We've analysed companies' annual reports and other filings to see which key issues are receiving the most attention.

By Data Journalism Team

Mentions of cybersecurity within the filings of companies in the oil and gas industry were 55% higher in the fourth quarter of 2021 than in Q4 of 2020.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to cybersecurity during 2021 was 144% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When companies in the oil and gas industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports, and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Cybersecurity is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether cybersecurity is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the oil and gas industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned cybersecurity at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 89% compared to 75% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to cybersecurity.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the oil and gas industry, Honeywell was the company that referred to cybersecurity the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 30 cybersecurity-related sentences in the US-based company's filings – 0.4% of all sentences. Schlumberger mentioned cybersecurity the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high cybersecurity mentions included RIL, Lukoil, and Transneft.

Across all companies in the oil and gas industry, the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on cybersecurity came from H&P. Of the document's 1,521 sentences, 16 (1.1%) referred to cybersecurity.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on cybersecurity and how important the issue is considered within the oil and gas industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning cybersecurity more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into cybersecurity have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises cybersecurity mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 'data security', which made up 84% of all cybersecurity subtheme mentions by companies in the oil and gas industry.

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