Securing Louisiana’s Energy Infrastructure

July 20, 2020

Building a Protective Cyber Dome Over Port Fourchon

LSU’s applied research entity, Stephenson Technologies Corporation, has won a $25 million federal contract for groundbreaking work to protect Louisiana’s energy infrastructure. Specifically, the award from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Naval Research Laboratory will create a digital dome protecting Port Fourchon and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, or LOOP, the nation’s only offshore deepwater port. 

Over the next five years, the project will deliver a digital dome spanning Port Fourchon and its connection to the LOOP. That system will collect, interpret, and fuse electromagnetic signals. Cyber threats will be identified and removed, while intelligence about nautical risks will be shared with coastal enforcement agencies to protect people, vessels, and cargo.

Port Fourchon serves 90% of deepwater oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico, connects to 50% of U.S. refining capacity, and handles approximately 15% of the nation’s domestic and foreign oil shipments. Over 250 companies operate at Port Fourchon, with daily traffic of up to 400 large supply vessels.

STC will design and build the digital dome to protect these assets and the people who operate them. The dome will be known as the Port Urban and Nautical Unified Shield, or PORTUNUS.

Port Fourchon

Aerial view of Port Fourchon.

“In viewing the Iron Dome that Israel created to protect its air defense systems, we glimpsed what [LSU’s] Stephenson Technologies Corporation could create to protect our nation’s most vital energy gateway at Port Fourchon. Not only will this project provide critical protection for the U.S. energy supply, STC’s work will advance Louisiana’s growing base of cybersecurity and IT talent.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards