Australian exploration and production company Woodside has taken a 10% shareholding in Western Australian tech start-up Sapien Cyber, which specialises in cybersecurity and protection of critical infrastructure.

Following the deal, which is subject to satisfaction of conditions precedent, Woodside chief technology officer Shaun Gregory will join Sapien Cyber’s advisory board as an observer.

Gregory said: “Woodside is proud to be supporting another Western Australian technology company. The sophistication of Sapien Cyber’s technology platform has the potential to deliver a comprehensive and multi-dimensional cybersecurity solution to protect Woodside’s operating assets.”

Sapien Cyber, was launched at Perth’s Edith Cowan University in 2016, commercialised in partnership with Australian corporate advisory firm and investor Jindalee Partners and refined through collaboration with Woodside.

According to Woodside, Sapien Cyber provides clients with “unprecedented network visibility, dynamic real-time monitoring and actionable intelligence” to reduce the vulnerability of digital systems to attack.

Woodside began the “digital transformation” of its offshore infrastructure through a contract with Indian IT multinational Wipro in December 2016.

Sapien Cyber chair John Poynton said: “Criminals, activists and state agents are continually refining the potency of their cyber weapons.

“Solutions need to evolve faster than the threats. Our unique approach offers unparalleled, real-time visibility to the client’s network, detecting operational technology cyber threats before they can wreak havoc.”

Cybersecurity is a significant problem in the oil and gas industry, with companies becoming increasingly aware of their vulnerabilities