Conventional attack - fuel supply infrastructure

This risk is featured in the full matrix, representing the averages of multiple different scenarios presented together in the ‘conventional attacks on infrastructure’ category.

Impact 5
risk indicator
ID 10
Risk theme Terrorism
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


Fuel supply infrastructure is used to produce, import, store and distribute fuels such as gasoline and diesel to consumers. Those with malicious intent could disrupt operations at a fuel infrastructure site causing operations to cease and impacting the production or distribution of fuel in a given region. There is also a risk of serious and fatal injuries to the workforce on site during an incident of this nature.


The reasonable worst-case scenario is based on a physical attack on a critical part of the UK’s fuel supply infrastructure. This would impact the production, importation and/or regional distribution of fuel as a result of physical damage or loss of operations, and the fuel sector would take time to adapt fully to the temporary or permanent loss of a critical asset.


Variations of this scenario are held at a higher classification.

Response capability requirements

The response would require proactive engagement with relevant public bodies such as the police. Government has established contingency plans in place to manage any impacts on fuel supply, and these are listed in the National Emergency Plan for Fuel. The National Emergency Plan for Fuel sets out the government’s approach to maintaining fuel supplies in an emergency. The plan is for use by the government, the downstream oil supply industry and resilience planners for local services. It includes the possibility of prioritising fuel for the emergency services and rationing fuel to retail customers using legislation under the Energy Act.


Once operations at the affected site have resumed, fuel stocks would begin to recover quickly. The time taken for the restoration of supplies would depend on the extent of the damage to the infrastructure. The rate at which forecourt stock levels recover would depend on the remaining stock levels across the region, number of sites that have stocked out and demand levels.