2 min Security

German fuel and oil distributors disrupted by cyberattack

German fuel and oil distributors disrupted by cyberattack

Petrol distributors had to re-route deliveries to keep fuel flowing to consumers and businesses across the country.

Oittanking Deutschland GmbH and Mabanaft GmbH & Co KG Group, both subsidiaries of Marquard & Bahls AG, announced that they were victims of a cyberattack over the weekend. The form of cyberattack has not been disclosed.

Oiltanking supplies 26 companies in Germany with fuel, including 1,955 Shell gas stations. Reuters reported today that Shell Deutschland GmbH said that it had been able to “re-route to alternative supply depots for the time being.”

All terminals “operating safely” despite attack

In a joint statement, the two affected companies said that they were working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. “We are undertaking a thorough investigation, together with external specialists and are collaborating closely with the relevant authorities,” Oiltanking and Mananaft said. “All terminals continue to operate safely.”

Aral, the largest petrol station network in Germany with around 2,300 stations, was supplying its stations from alternative sources in light of the disturbance, a spokesperson for its owner BP Plc said.

Oiltanking has declared force majeure for most of its supply activities. The activation of force majeure excuses the company from meeting contractual obligations in an extraordinary event that is beyond its control.

No hacking gang is yet to claim responsibility for the attack. Although the form of the attack remains unknown, the obvious candidate is ransomware. Notably, the websites for the two companies targeted, along with parent company Marquard & Bahls, are all offline as of the time of writing.

Oiltanking has actively operated in the fuel tanking space since 1972. In fact, it is one of the biggest global independent operators of tank terminals for chemicals, gases, and oils. The company operates 13 tank farms in Germany.

Thankfully, it appears as if Germany’s fuel supply and transportation are secure. Frank Shaper, managing director of Germany’s independent tank storage association, said neither the heating nor the transportation aspects of German fuel supply is under threat.

However, the country’s fuel supply chain could worsen if the IT issues caused by cyber attacks remain unresolved. The cyber attack has shut down Oiltanking’s loading and unloading process. The process is completely computerized, and it is not possible to shift back to manual controls.