What is Remote Oilfield Surveillance?

Oilfield theft is at an all-time high. From pipe to copper wiring, solar panels, batteries and steel, thieves are taking just about anything they can get their hands on.  Whether it is a small Independent or a super major oil company, no one is immune to oilfield theft.  Because most oilfields are located in remote locations, thieves can easily come and go without being detected.
Remote oilfield surveillance can help with oilfield security by allowing operators to protect their property.

How Does Remote Oilfield Surveillance Work?

Remote oilfield surveillance allows owners, operators, security personnel, and management to keep a close eye on the site.  The most advanced well site security cameras and equipment are designed specifically for hazardous locations, extreme temperature ranges and weather conditions, low power consumption, and are designed to operate with constrained bandwidth.  A properly designed system will include an HD camera with live streaming of high resolution video, and will utilize motion detection, object detection, and night vision.   Although these systems may not always be able to prevent a loss, they certainly provide a strong deterrent to thieves since any images generated by an event are uploaded immediately to the cloud and the thief will be identified.  At the very least, these systems help oilfield operators with the prosecution and recovery process.

Because these systems are remote, cameras and other well site surveillance equipment are often powered by solar energy.  Typical househould security cameras or parking lot cameras are not suitable for off-grid applications or well site security.  In addition, a typical home security camera that is built for a standard urban internet connection using off-the-shelf software, will consume between 90GB-120GB of data usage in just a 24 hour period.  Considering that a cellular data plan usually covers only 5GB-10GB per month, that 24 hour data usage alone would run about $1,500-$2,000.  If you also consider that the oilfield is not only remote, but also a hazardous area, you realize quickly that you must choose a company with specific oil and gas experience and engineers that are dedicated to oilfield security.

What do Remote Surveillance Systems Offer?

The most common and most basic of surveillance systems will include a camera that takes a single digital snapshot once every 5 minutes and uploads these images to a server.  Users of these systems often express frustration as they must sift through hundreds of individual images per day to find a meaningful event, and unless the event occurred at precisely the moment that the image was taken, the event would not be captured at all.  Companies that market this type of solution usually don’t have the software expertise to develop image handling processes to operate in these environments, and they are unable to use the off-the-shelf software that comes with the camera because of bandwidth and data usage concerns.   These types of systems are great for marketing, but always leave customers disappointed.  If the camera looks like it should be mounted on the wall of a home, then that is where it probably should be, and definitely not in the oilfield.

A well designed system will utilize motion detection, object detection, streaming video, and night vision to capture meaningful events and minimize false events.  Sophisticated software can also help with image handling, bandwidth, and data usage, thus enabling the use of high resolution images.  This allows the user to receive notifications when events actually occur, such as when a workover rig or oil transport truck pulls onto the location.

Advanced oilfield surveillance systems will also enable the user to utilize the cameras in conjunction with other field devices, sensors and gauges.  This means that when someone turns off a pumpjack a digital snapshot is taken, or when an oil or water hauler opens a valve on a storage tank, a snapshot is triggered.  In addition, this type of system will enable the user to turn on or off the pump jack remotely, or open or close a valve remotely.  If the user remotely turns the pump jack off, or opens a valve, he will be able to see through streaming video that the pump jack did in fact shut down.  A user can also remotely supervise workover projects or control hourly billing remotely.   This type of system allows oilfield operators to have complete control of their operations.

A remote oilfield surveillance system designed by oil and gas experts is well worth the investment. Not only does it give oilfield operators peace of mind, it also helps to increase oilfield security. Our system both deters thieves and makes your location a much safer place for workers and supervisors.

Please contact PetroCloud for any questions you have about how oilfield surveillance can benefit your business.