Why video analytics is inevitable in the oil and gas sector now?
Video analytics can play a crucial role in the oil and gas vertical to improve security and optimize business operations. Several factors make work at oil and gas facilities increasingly difficult. Traditional surveillance
solutions are often insufficient to meet the growing demands and rising threats.
Recent geopolitical tension and economic concerns have made this all-the more essential as fuel prices continue to soar and critical facilities are a safety concern. Even a small accident or attack can derail operations at refineries and rigs, causing massive losses and operational stress.
“The oil and gas industry is one of the most dangerous industries, which faces many challenges, including protecting a large number of facilities in often remote, harsh, and hazardous environments while providing workplace safety and security,” explains Hamish Dobson, Corporate VP of Product in Video Security and Access Control at Motorola Solutions. “Video analytics is important to help keep employees and facilities safe by monitoring, detecting, and analyzing potential threats, so security can respond efficiently and effectively.”
How VCA can help
Stewart Dewar, Product Manager at Senstar, added that being highly flexible and easy to deploy, video analytics can both supplement existing security systems as well as improve operations via the targeted collection of key data.
“Outdoor people and vehicle tracking video analytics, for example, can be used to augment existing perimeter security, providing valuable intrusion detection and tracking capabilities outside the secure perimeter as well as inside the facility grounds itself, while automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) can work closely with access control systems to track and streamline vehicular activities,” Dewar said.
Getting into the specifics, Dobson listed five major benefits that video analytics can bring to the oil and gas sector.
- Ensure that employees are not in hazardous or unauthorized areas
- Classify people and vehicles to detect when they cause actual threats versus false alarms
- Protect a perimeter by detecting threats, such as a person walking through a vehicle-only gate, or someone walking or driving in the wrong direction while sending real-time alerts and visuals to operators
- Identify abandoned or unattended items which may jeopardize the safety and security of employees and critical infrastructure.
Dewar further added that the use of thermal cameras to visualize issues related to equipment operation and emissions is especially important. “Video analytics can enhance thermal cameras by intelligently
characterizing temperature alerts, directing operator attention to key operational concerns or to use as external verification of existing systems,” Dewar said.
Challenges limiting adoption
According to Dewar, there are two closely related obstacles that pose challenges to the adoption of video analytics in the oil and gas sector: the size of large facilities and the requirements for explosion-proof cameras. In addition to having extended, mixed construction perimeters, the plant itself makes direct line-of-sight coverage of large areas difficult.
“When this is combined with the added requirement of using certified explosion-protected cameras, the cost of deploying and managing comprehensive security surveillance networks becomes quite high,” Dewar said. “As a result, video analytic-based solutions are typically deployed strategically, with the intent to solve specific security or operational concerns.”
Dobson points out five major challenges:
Challenge 1: Video security cameras and sensors are highly sensitive and designed to pick up small movements that may be irrelevant and which can cause false alarms.
“An increase in false alarms can prevent security from identifying genuine incidents and drive them to lose concentration and confidence in the analytics’ performance,” Dobson said. “Motorola Solutions’ AI-powered video security cameras analyze alarms and filter out unnecessary information to focus on analytics, such as object or intrusion detection, that can help reduce false alarms.”
Challenge 2: Operators often believe analytics is too time-consuming or difficult to set up to detect individual threats. Choosing video analytic solutions that are easy to configure and improve the detection of threats is essential.
Challenge 3: The oil and gas industry has complex sites and infrastructure. Some are located onshore or offshore with no one on site that requires consistent monitoring. While physically setting up solutions at each facility may be a challenge at first, using analytics can help customers reduce the hassle of managing sites separately.
“Analytics can provide multi-site service access that allows operators to view multiple remote sites from a single location,” Dobson added.
Challenge 4: Businesses are required to adhere to and comply with certain industry and government standards and regulations. An open and flexible line of broadband-capable, VMS-agnostic cameras would make a huge difference to customers in this sector. Ensuring that customers choose a brand that is compliant with regulations like NDAA is also important.
Challenge 5: Due to the harsh and hazardous conditions in which the oil and gas industry operates, they require cameras that can withstand risks of explosion due to the presence of flammable gas or combustible dust, which are often hard to find. This issue can be resolved by working with major solution providers who can offer vertical-specific devices.
According to the research agency Global Market Insights, the oil and gas infrastructure market size surpassed around USD 620 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at over 6 percent CAGR from 2022 to 2030.
Although this is positive news, concerns about the ongoing Russia- Ukraine war and economic slowdown have dampened sentiments A report from Deloitte points out that the crude oil and natural gas (O&G)
industry is not new to supply disruptions and price volatility. Over the past seven years, the industry has seen several peaks and troughs, from above $100/bbl in 2014 to – $37/bbl in 2020.
But the situation is unique today. A confluence of several economic, geopolitical, trade, policy, and financial factors have exacerbated the issue of underinvestment and triggered a readjustment in the broader energy market. Significantly, such a situation would create an increased demand for security in this vertical. For systems integrators, this means more demand for technology that can reduce costs, improve operations, and ensure safety.
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