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Surveillance As A 'Complete Site Protection' Solution

21 September 2015

This article was originally published in the Offshore Europe Event Catalogue, 2015. For more information about the show, please visit the event website.

Surveillance technology has been integral to offshore asset protection for many years yet until recently, its role has typically been limited to two specific functions – process monitoring and site security. 

Now, thanks to the evolution of sophisticated integration capabilities and advanced user interface platforms, that role has developed and surveillance is seen as a complete site protection solution. 

Threat Scenario Detection

The emergence of IP-based surveillance has perhaps been the most significant reason for this change, as it has enabled true integration between a much broader range of operational, emergency and site security systems. 

This in turn has facilitated a depth of data analysis that simply hasn’t been possible before. 

Things like minute fluctuations in temperature, equipment performance and noise can now be monitored via a single control system and configured to prompt high definition visual feed from the nearest camera stations for analysis and response. The same system can also cross reference such details with personnel locations and alert surveillance operators to area evacuations or lockdowns that may be required, guiding them through necessary procedures step-by-step.  

Even the smallest details can be identified and analysed. For example, an anomalous machinery reading coupled with camera footage that indicates an ‘unusual’ water surface reflection may indicate a fault that poses an immediate safety or environmental threat. An intelligently integrated surveillance monitoring and control platform can be programmed to track such events and alert personnel. 

Consolidating site monitoring in this way is more efficient, enables speedier threat response and ultimately can prevent major incident escalations. 

Personnel Safety 

Incident detection of this nature is just as important for personnel safety as it is for site security and process control. 

Integration with ‘man down’ systems, for example, is an increasingly common requirement. The surveillance monitoring and control system, when integrated with body-worn technology, can detect if a person remains stationary for a prolonged period. This may indicate a fall, injury or collapse. Positional data received can then be used to pinpoint the person’s location, and trigger a visual feed from the nearest camera with clear sight.  

Such technology is particularly relevant to remote, hazardous locations which may be staffed by skeleton crews or lone workers.

A Real Solution for the Real World

The benefits of implementing an intelligently integrated surveillance solution are clear. Why then is adoption of such technology only just gaining momentum? 

One of the biggest challenges to wider adoption has been overcoming the perception that a solution capable of such complex data mining must also be complicated to use. This couldn’t be further from the truth

Those working in the offshore oil and gas industry operate in some of the most demanding environments on the planet – the systems they use must therefore be both effective and efficient. This is why the best surveillance systems have evolved to make user interface simpler and enable operators to tailor settings to suit their specific needs. 

In fact built-in software features such as, automatic audit trails and reporting, step by step workflow functionality, and interactive mapping allow operators to be supported by the solution, rather than challenged by it. 

In With the Old and With the New

Because most offshore oil and gas operators will have already invested heavily in surveillance over the years, they typically cannot afford to ignore that investment by ripping out old technology to replace with a completely new solution, and happily they don’t need to. 

While new oil and gas projects are likely to adopt the latest technology up-front as a complete system, leading surveillance solutions with improved integration capabilities allow new and legacy technology to work together seamlessly. This makes them ideal for facilitating gradual upgrades and site expansions that maximise existing investment without having to sacrifice progress.  

Surveillance technology has a lot to offer the offshore oil and gas industry right now, both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. For a sector where costs are closely monitored yet safety is paramount, it’s a combination of benefits hard to ignore.