Oil and gas companies in Kuwait are spending a lot to secure their control and information systems against cyber-attacks, given the huge challenges imposed by the ever-developing information technology. "The budget appropriations for the industrial automation and control systems in oil companies make up about 10 percent of the total budget," Deputy CEO of Kuwait National Petroleum Company for Support Services Khaled Al-Asousi told reporters Wednesday. "In Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) this accounts for nearly KD 2 billion," he said, noting that the cost of industrial control systems reached over USD 600 million in 2013. Al-Asousi, also chairman of the petroleum sector's supreme committee for information technology, was speaking at a press conference organized by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and EQUATE petrochemical company to announce the organization of Kuwait's 1st Industrial Automation and Control Systems Cyber Security Conference during the period 25-26 May. He stated said that ever-evolving digital technology and growing interconnection with other corporate systems have brought new vulnerabilities and growing threats to control systems. "There is an urgent need for a comprehensive strategy to address these challenges and provide the required protection for companies," he said, adding that upcoming conference would focus on this topic. For his part, EQUATE's Deputy CEO for Technical Affairs Mohammad Al-Benali said that over 85 entities and 300 specialists, experts and officials from the four corners of the globe were invited to the conference. Al-Benali said that the conference, to be held under the patronage of Oil Minister and Minister of National Assembly Affairs Ail Al-Omair, aims to share knowledge, expertise and exchange best practices in the field of cyber security, crisis Management as well as specifically focusing on cyber workshops. It also seeks to present cutting edge information to broaden cyber security professionals' knowledge and to share best practices and lessons learned with collaboration.