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Deputy Secretary James Loy told a gathering of oil and natural gas producers that their decision to invest in homeland security measures has helped make America safer and has put their industry in a better competitive position for the future.

Speaking at the Rocky Mountain Natural Gas meeting in Denver, Loy cited the oil and gas industry's development of an energy information sharing and analysis center, establishing protocols for changing threat situations and conducting vulnerability assessments of cyber and physical assets while implementing new protective measures as ways that have helped prevent attacks on the nation's energy infrastructure.

Taking proactive steps now, thinking strategically and creatively about the security of your businesses and industry will give customers and shareholders greater confidence, but also prepare you to sustain and endure even if the unthinkable tragedy occurs," Loy said.

Loy added that the new security measures can invoke fear in corporate leaders, fear that the additional costs will cripple them. "But as we have seen in many different areas - from maritime to financial services to energy - security does not have to be an albatross around the neck of a company. On the contrary, in numerous instances by concentrating on security as part of the business formula, business operations have been tightened and streamlined, leading to greater efficiency and profitability."

Loy also praised the Rocky Mountain oil and gas producers for developing domestic energy resources, helping the United States lessen its dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Creating a more secure nation depends on the commitment of critical infrastructure industries such as the domestic oil and gas industry, Loy said, pointing out that the Homeland Security Presidential Directive No. 7 identifies this industry as one of 13 critical infrastructure industries.