Kuwait’s National Oil Refinery Ensures Secure Remote KVM Connectivity with Matrox Extio 3

Matrox Extio 3’s advanced security features provide remote operators around the world with protected access to Kuwait National Petroleum Company oil refinery control systems

Background

Since its establishment in 1960, Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has been responsible for oil refining, gas liquefaction, and the distribution of petroleum for local and international markets. In order to meet market demands for transport fuels, increase processing capacity, and optimize the operational capabilities of its refineries, KNPC launched its $12 billion USD Clean Fuels Project (CFP).

KNPC engaged Wood as the Project Management Consultants (PMC) to execute the project on behalf of the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) during the Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) phases of CFP. This massive upgrade has not only required assistance from experts and equipment suppliers in various global locations, but also a robust, secure means to connect them to systems at KNPC’s oil refineries. With Matrox® Extio™ 3 IP KVM extenders, KNPC is able to ensure that remote access to critical components of its refinery control systems is safeguarded from exposure to cybersecurity threats.

Challenge

KNPC had originally chosen Extio 3 IP KVM extenders after launching the CFP in order to create a silent control room and free up space for operators. Extio 3’s high security, ease of deployment, and industrial form factor – backed by Matrox’s reliable technical expertise and support – made the KVM extenders the perfect fit for KNPC. A few years later when the COVID-19 pandemic brought about border closings and travel restrictions, KNPC knew that it could rely on its existing Extio 3 KVM extension solution for secure remote access to its control systems.

Solution

As Middle Eastern oil and gas operators are at constant risk of cyber attacks, KNPC’s Integrated Control and Safety Systems (ICSS) require advanced protection, especially when suppliers in separate locations need to remotely connect to sensitive assets. Therefore, KNPC needed a secure solution that would allow for remote connections on a network that is physically separated from unsecured networks. With other remote KVM solutions being more complex to deploy and not offering the right security features for KNPC’s environment, Extio 3 put KNPC at ease thanks to its ability to integrate IPsec VPN. Extio 3 runs over a secure VPN connection, which allows for the protected transmission of all audio, video, and USB signals over WAN so that remote users can securely connect to control systems located at KNPC’s oil refineries.

Though KNPC originally deployed Extio 3 via LAN after first acquiring it, the company is now using the KVM solution over WAN to connect remote users to its control systems on a daily basis. These remote users – who are often located in different countries – are sent an Extio 3 receiver device, which enables them to view and monitor KNPC’s compressor control systems in Kuwait.

Extio 3 Wood PLC worflow

Results

With Extio 3, KNPC was able to experience easy, hassle-free integration and ensure protected remote access to its mission-critical systems. Furthermore, Matrox’s technical support team helped to facilitate rapid deployment of the Extio 3 KVM extension solution by reliably providing additional resources and assistance when needed. According to Brendan Costigan, Wood PMC Lead Control & Instrumentation Engineer, adding Extio 3 KVM extenders to the oil refinery’s remote monitoring solution has not only enabled the continuity of the CFP upgrades during the global pandemic, but has also yielded significant time and cost reductions. “Matrox has really stood out to KNPC as a true partner throughout the rollout of the remote monitoring solution,” said Costigan. “KNPC had a long list of requirements for a KVM solution – ranging from security to ease of use – and Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM extenders have completely surpassed their expectations. This easy-to-use plug-and-play solution has put KNPC minds at ease in knowing they can get remote support from their suppliers abroad without the security risks associated with conventional remote access techniques.”