5 Minutes with: Syed Mohsin Almohdzar

Syed Mohsin Almohdzar, Head of Cybersecurity – Downstream at PETRONAS.

Asian Downstream Insights previously had the chance to speak with Syed Mohsin Almohdzar, Head of Cybersecurity – Downstream at PETRONAS, as he discussed the importance of reliability in the cyber space. Now, we get to know him a little better on the more personal side of things.

There’s a lot happening in the downstream industry right now. Before we dig into your outlook on the sector and what’s on the horizon, tell us how you got involved in the industry and your current role at PETRONAS.

I started early in my career in the oil and gas industry, with more than a decade spent in Shell IT, and some years spent in manufacturing plants such as the Pulau Bukom Refinery in Singapore. Currently, I work with PETRONAS as head of the company’s Business Cyber Security for Downstream, focusing on the Marketing Operating Unit.

What does a typical day in your role look like? What are the biggest challenges?

I’m accountable for end-to-end cybersecurity and managing the resilience of the business operating unit. This ranges from defence, governance, strategy, programmes and change management, just to name a few. My role also involves driving huge efforts in collaborating with multiple groups in the business.

What would you say has been your biggest success story, or a moment you’re particularly proud of in your career?

In all honesty, it’s hard to choose just one! What I would say is that most of the satisfaction I derive from my job comes from moments when high business values are achieved with the highest level of collaboration amongst professionals in the organisation.

What, in your opinion, is the main driver influencing change across the future of the downstream industry?

It sounds a little cliché, but I definitely think one of the main drivers will always be the global demand with regard to downstream products. When we look at recent times with uncertainties like the economy in this pandemic, these factors are what drive the level of profit margins within the business.

You previously talked about cybersecurity with us for an interview – looking at this specific sector, would you say it’s as important as HSSE (Health, Safety, Security & Environment) for the oil and gas sector?

For PETRONAS, it absolutely is. I would say that it should be for all other oil and gas sectors as well, as undermining the risk of cyberattacks will create a major impact on the organisation – which we see in many situations around the world today.

Finally, what’s the focus for PETRONAS in the next six to 12 months? What can we expect?

There’s always plenty to be done, and loads more to learn in the cybersecurity space. That’s where my focus will be for the next year. It’s exciting to see what developments will be seen, and I’m hopeful we will emerge stronger from this pandemic.