Stop Theft in its Tracks
Being an innovator means using pristine technology
- By Per Hanssen
- Jul 01, 2013
You don’t produce 170 million barrels of oil in a single year without
being an innovator. That’s exactly what EOG Resources Inc. is—an
innovator and a game changer. The company is one of the largest
independent, non-integrated, crude oil and natural gas companies
in the United States.
EOG also has reserves in Canada, Trinidad, the United Kingdom and China.
With its estimated net reserves at 1,811 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE),
EOG is a leader in the oil and gas industry. The same can be said for the
company’s approach to fighting copper theft.
An Active Deterrent
EOG has lost more than $1.5 million from copper theft in the Central Texas region
alone over the last year. The company’s security and operations manager, Randy
Lundrum, explains that EOG project sites, many located in rural and remote areas,
attract and even embolden thieves with copper and diesel stored on the site.
Several EOG work sites include communication stations where copper wire is used
for grounding the sophisticated radio systems.
These communication sites are essentially information and telecommunication
hubs. They are used to transfer oil and gas production data and they are the link to sharing reports, designs and status updates about each production site. So, not
only is theft a significant financial drain on the business, the damage caused by
copper theft is also extremely disruptive to normal business operations.
Fed up with the vandalism and blows to productivity, Lundrum and the EOG
IT team reached out to their security and technology partner, Sology. Sology has
worked with EOG’s internal IT department to set up a Cisco video management
platform and multiple standalone IP cameras, in addition to lighting systems
around various EOG facilities. After dissecting the problem, Sology, EOG’s security
integrator, recommended the team check out the Totus Surveillance Platform.
The platform is an all-in-one, outdoor-lighting-based system that uses LED lighting,
IP video surveillance, multi-day media storage and an option of secure wireless
communications perfect for remote outposts in the oil and gas field like EOG’s
“When we heard from EOG that copper theft was going on and their IT department
was looking for an all-in-one solution they could manage on their own network,
we introduced the concept of intelligent lighting and IP video surveillance,”
said Ed Christmas, EOG’s security and support specialist from Sology. “The sophistication
and, at the same time, simplicity of the platform were selling points.”
With support from Sology, a Totus lighting-based system was installed at one
of EOG’s South Texas work sites. The 150-watt surveillance platform was mounted
to a pole along a fence surrounding the communication station; the lighting
and camera was positioned precisely to illuminate areas prone to vandalism. The
platform provides 200- to 400-foot diameter range of light, far surpassing conventional
lighting systems. The team created a series of geofences, or “virtual trip
wires,” along the fence line of the communication unit so that an intruder would
be identified as soon as he entered one of these areas. The system was then linked
into the EOG network so everything could be reported in real-time.
Christmas said the platforms are an example of an emerging technology that is
re-defining the core of security solutions, taking them from reactive to proactive,
particularly because of the platform’s embedded intelligence.
Instead of observing and recording a crime in motion, the surveillance platform
has a built in component called Active Deterrence. This event-trigged technology
component is effective because it discourages crime from happening in the
first place. The technology monitors the pre-defined “virtual trip wires” and if activated,
immediate action is taken. The platform has a continuous 360-degree field
of view and recording capabilities to capture video and still clips of on-site events.
If and when an event is detected at a location, the system flashes lights and
plays an audio message such as, “You are under video surveillance.” If motion
is detected and the person proceeds, the event is escalated. The system continues,
“Security has been called; video clips are being emailed to security and the police.”
The backbone of the Active Deterrence component is LED lighting and IP video
surveillance systems. The platform captures high-quality video with a 360-degree
IP camera (360-degree fisheye three megapixel hemispheric IP camera).
Lundrum is pleased with the results of the system and likes the fact that even
with a small security staff, EOG can now effectively engage people with visual and
audio warnings that give would-be thieves reason to pause and move out.
Each of the lighting, camera and event-triggered options are managed through
a secure Web interface by the EOG IT team. Users can select everything from
lighting levels during operation to visual and custom audio-alarm notification
preferences. EOG teams like the fact that they can customize pre-recorded voice
messages to be played during triggered events, and that the system is directed to
send security staff a text message or an email with video clips of any disturbance.
“The system is simple but still configurable, and it’s extremely energy efficient
with a desirable LED component,” Christmas said. “At the end
of the day, there’s no doubt this is a deterrent to copper theft and
there have been no incidents since it was installed, so that’s an
instant return on investment for EOG.”
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Security Today.