Baker Hughes delivers cutting-edge solutions to clients in the oil and natural gas sector. With more than 50,000 employees operating in some of the most dangerous countries in the world, risk is a routine part of business. Baker Hughes’ security team saw an opportunity to enter the Iraqi oil market ahead of their competitors and needed in-depth intelligence and expert analysis to gain insight into the situation on the ground. They turned to WorldAware's Managed Risk Services support. The security team at Baker Hughes is tasked with enhancing overall business development, rather than taking a reactive approach to risk and simply policing the organization’s employees and operations. Every service contract under consideration in a high-risk country is reviewed by the security team, a model spearheaded by the Chief Security Officer and supported by the Group Presidents and the CEO. “I have a seat at the executive business table,” said Russ Cancilla, Vice President and Chief Security Officer of the company. “When the strategy discussions are happening, I hear where our overall strategy is headed and what deals are in the pipeline.”


As an integral part of strategic planning, the Baker Hughes security team approached the Senior Executive Committee with its proposal to examine the possibility of conducting operations in Kurdistan. They turned to WorldAware’s Managed Risk Services to make their assessment. The team started with a basic analysis of the Kurdistan region, drawing on WorldAware intelligence and analysts for everything from a general overview to specific insights on regional nuances. WorldAware analysis focused particularly on the complex dynamics driving events in northern Iraq, from competition between Kurdish regional authorities (KRG) and the central government in Baghdad to the history and motivations of the PKK, a well-known terrorist group operating in the area. “It was important to understand what security impact border occurrences would have. I needed to examine whether the KRG was stable enough to provide protection against the PKK and other external forces,” explained Cancilla.

We saw a business opportunity [in Iraq] because other companies were just writing that area off, largely because of perceptions created by media coverage. We realized we can operate in Kurdistan and ensure the safety of our employees. – Russ Cancilla, Vice President and Chief Security Officer


With WorldAware's Managed Risk Services support, Baker Hughes was able to determine that Kurdistan was in fact much more secure than many of the other locations where the company operates. “By drawing on the analysts’ insights and comparing the risks relative to other areas, we looked at the opportunity and realized we could manage the risk for the projects in Kurdistan,” concluded Cancilla. After the preliminary assessment and a full on-the-ground security analysis in-country, the security team recommended the company take northern Iraq off of its “no go” list. As a result of this effort, the Senior Executive Committee approved entering the Iraqi market.


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Bakes Hughes Case Study