IoT Monitoring: How Oil Companies Are Using Automation To Secure Their Network

Posted by
Matthew Van Alstyne on Oct 10, 2019 11:28:55 AM
Tanner LaRocque on 6 minute read

Remote oil pipeline.

Did you know that oil and gas companies have millions of miles of pipeline across the globe? It is mind-boggling to think about the time an energy it takes to monitor, maintain, and fix a pipeline of this size.

Oil and gas pipelines fuel the economy

Now you might ask, why do I care? Well, let me add some context. Oil and gas lines are the lifeblood of the US, North America, and even the world. The ability to monitor, maintain and keep these lines working 24/7 is imperative to the economy and the everyday lives of anyone that owns a car, motorbike, or even someone running a generator off the grid.

Effect on consumer

Just a small blip in production from a valve malfunction or a damaged fiber optic line can cause millions in lost revenue for the oil/gas producer and increased gas prices for the consumer, you! Remember the summer of 2008? Gas prices skyrocketed to an average of $4.11 per gallon. Today, you can pick up a gallon for $2.59 on average.

So now that you have some context and understand the necessity of Oil and Gas lines, the next question is, “How do they stay running 24/7?”

Automation to the rescue

The answer is automation. In the not so recent past, a pumpman would perform manual inspections of valves and the pipeline. Just as recent as 2014, with the introduction of automation, the physical aspect of the job is starting to fade.

Now you may ask, what is a manual pumpman inspection? This is exactly what it sounds like, a physical inspection of a line or valve.

Physical inspections are still happening, but with millions of miles of pipeline and billions of customers to satisfy, automation is essential. In 2019, a pumpman can monitor hundreds of miles of pipeline at once from a pump house. This is still manual and time-consuming, but much more efficient than performing a physical line inspection.

In 2019 the pumpman is being replaced by automation and
saving staff costs for oil companies and other like industries. The remaining pumpman
jobs are becoming more technical, but new graduates are not coming into the workforce with technical skills.

The technical skills gap is widening

The tech skills gap is widening while 60% of employers are struggling to fill job vacancies within 12 weeks. And if you think that is bad, new research from the Korn Ferry Institute suggests things will only get worse.

This is not news to the tech industry or even the industries that employ people with technical skills. Cybersecurity was not even recognized
as a course curriculum until 2014 and critical infrastructure is one of the industries that is feeling the tech squeeze the most.

How automation solves the technical skills gap

As jobs that inherently required little to no education are becoming more technical, advanced skillsets and certifications are now required to manage the vast surveillance networks within critical infrastructure. And with the lack of available technical personnel, companies are having to get creative and lean on hardware and software built specifically with automation and security in mind.

IoT Use Cases:

Pumpman checking remote pipeline valves.

  1. Manage pipeline valves and protect from digital vulnerabilities
  2. Manage security and operations of open-hole wireline logging

Many vital IoT devices control and monitor mechanical valves within pump houses and other remote/outdoor locations. In harsh environments, cyber hardening can present many challenges.

Examples of remote and harsh environmental challenges

  1. Control and reporting operations cannot be subject to digital vulnerabilities which include hacking
  2. Early detection and notification of any type of disruption are critical in a 24/7 operation of a supply chain

Utilizing Razberi, CameraDefense™, ApplianceDefense™ and Monitor™ software with Razberi's edge and ruggedized commercial and industrial hardware will help mitigate cyber hardening challenges at the edge, especially in hard to reach remote locations.

Wireline truck operator

Openhole wireline logging services are used by oil companies to log data (i.e. oil pressure, temperature). Fiber optics are inside of the wireline and transported on large spools to job sites. Fiber optic wires need to be perfectly rolled on a spool or damage to the lines may occur. If the wires overlap or get tangled, the fiber optics in the wires could be unusable and the cost of replacement can be in the millions of dollars.

Razberi manages the cameras on the back of open-hole wireline trucks that make sure the fiber optic wire spools off the truck correctly and does not get damaged. Razberi Rugged™ can be plugged into the cameras that report back the data and optimizes the bandwidth.

CameraDefense is the basis of a great cybersecurity and system health monitoring solution within the oil/gas industry. Razberi also offers a solution that can apply to all IoT end devices, which is an integral part of maintaining operational efficiency for our customers. Razberi has created a secure ecosystem between their hardware and software that has changed the way our customers address 21st century industry challenges. 

Working with Razberi has been easy and has helped Osprey provide a proven, rugged video surveillance and IoT cybersecurity solution to our oil and gas industry customers. Razberi’s solution helps keep maintenance trucks from rolling, keeps critical infrastructure secure and on average saves oil and gas end-users thousands per deployment."

Logan Bertrand, Technical Director of Osprey Analytics Solutions, a turn-key security consulting firm specializing in the Oil & Gas, Energy, Critical Infrastructure and Power industries.

Interested to find out how CameraDefense™ and Rugged™ can solve your industry challenges?

Request Your FREE Security Audit

Topics: critical infrastructure, Cybersecurity, Oil and Gas, automation, Oil and Gas Cybersecurity


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About Razberi Technologies

Razberi makes it simple to manage and secure video surveillance and IoT systems. Razberi’s open video surveillance platform includes intelligent appliances combined with automated cybersecurity, and health monitoring software. In combination with a wide range of top third-party video management software (VMS) applications and IP cameras, enterprises can flexibly deploy a best-of-breed solution that reduces their total cost of ownership and reduces the likelihood of a costly cyber breach. Razberi is headquartered in Dallas.

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