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THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE of the oil & gas market in the global economy is well-known to everyone, also to those interested in taking advantage of the vulnerabilities deriving from delicate production processes, and any pertinent operational considerations.

In terms of security there is a strong need of protection from factors such as terrorist attacks, sabotage, theft, as well as accidents and malfunctions that could compromise health of personnel and business continuity of the plant.

In addition to complex and rigorous security needs, this market is special because of particularly hostile environments. It is quite common in fact for oil rigs to be located in geographical areas where weather conditions are extreme. This situation requires the use of equipment that satisfies precise operational requirements in terms of range of temperatures but is also resistant to bad weather and to an environment in which natural elements – like sand and salt – mingle with chemical substances of different sorts. The choice has to fall on IP 65-, IP67- or IP68-compliant equipment, but also on pressurised devices resistant to funghi and moulds typical of the most humid environments. IP65 specification can be enough to guarantee resistance to sand for a plant in a desert area. In the presence of salt, the selection of materials must be highly resistant to corrosion such as steel or GRP. The requirements for cabling in terms of mechanical, chemical and fire resistance to guarantee emergency systems function in case of fire are very restrictive.


The solution

To the oil and gas market, ADT Fire & Security /Tyco International offers a solution for the management and supervision of the entire security network in which different subsystems (CCTV, access control, anti-intrusion, telecommunications and networking) are integrated to satisfy plant requirements and to guarantee that reactions are always coherent within the context. When, as happens in most cases, it is not the user who creates the list of vendors to be involved in the development of a project, ADT provides professional equipment with tested and proven reliability. Depending on the environment and on security requirements, ADT solutions encompass installation of indoor standard equipment, industrial equipment, weatherproof equipment, Atex certified explosion proof equipment and provisioning of central systems (management cabinets, servers, matrixes, etc..).

The company offers its International system integration expertise, validating and integrating customer choices especially in terms of expected performance levels. A considerable effort is dedicated to the creation of all the documents (manuals, plan schemes, equipment schemes, cabinet diagrams, mounting diagrams, mounting instructions and maintenance) necessary to guarantee the user has the possibility to self-manage installation and maintenance, in addition to test, commissioning and start-up. The real added value of the ADT solution is its interoperability with other systems guaranteed through the integration of security and telecommunications systems. For example, in the case of a break-in signalled by the anti-intrusion system, the operator can use CCTV cameras to monitor both manually and automatically. However in the case of a fire, the access control configuration is modified to encourage the exit of personnel on site. Telecommunications systems are interoperable to guarantee information exchange also among operators that use different technologies (radio, phone, intercom, etc..).


System architecture

In terms of security, the ADT solution encompasses integration of the following systems:

  • CCTV
  • Access control
  • Intruder system

Each system has a dedicated console and, at the same time, reports into a supervision system that includes all communications from the field.

For security and resource optimisation, LANs dedicated to security are separate from the rest of the network. Where possible, there are two separate LANs: one for security and one for telecommunications. As these are generally new plants, all systems are cabled. Wireless technology is used in case of extension of existent plants in all situations in which a cabled solution is too complex or too costly.

The CCTV system is used to identify intrusions, to control alerts of other plants and to control the process. The system is managed on IP and can use IP or analogue cameras associated to a video encoder, depending on the operating features of the equipment.

IP technology can in fact ensure advantages in terms of client resource distribution and recording that, in disaster recovery mode, can be distributed.

In process control applications control room operators of the production plant use cameras – generally PTZ – to check the integrity and correct functioning of the entire plant or parts of it remotely. In some cases thermal cameras are used to monitor the superficial temperature of some parts of the plant to identify immediately potentially dangerous overheating.

Access control is also totally IP-based to ensure monitoring of people and vehicle access to the plant and to maximum security areas. Readers are connected via IP to a server, whereas the different ports have an RS485 interface. The options include the use of readers and badges to monitor their presence. Proximity is the technology mostly used for access control: it is enough that the badge is placed very close to the reader to make the doors open. It is fit for polluted environments or locations where personnel wear gloves and have dirty or greasy hands. Depending on individual needs, it is possible to set different levels of authorisation for each access point especially for specific areas that need to have controlled access (one can also monitor non-authorised access attempts). Integration between access control and CCTV systems is constant and enables the operator to acquire complete information before activating safety procedures. Access control is also connected to the fire extinguisher system to ensure optimal management of emergency evacuations. If there is an alarm, it is necessary to identify where people are located. In this case you can put in place a procedure where everybody needs to confirm the presence with their own badge at a meeting point with a reader. It is thus possible to establish with certainty if all personnel are safe.The anti-intrusion system is developed using the best technology for a specific plant and the surrounding environment, in addition to the type of intrusions hypothesized.

Available options are

  • Invisible barriers (microwaves, IR, electromagnetic, etc..)
  • Sensitive cables (microphones, optical fibres, etc..) and piezoelectric sensors installed on fences, perimeter walls
  • Sensors

Telecommunications systems supplied to support oil & gas plants are:

  • IP or traditional PABX with standard or special phones and distribution network
  • PAGA (Public Address General Alarm) system for audio messages
  • INTERCOM system, integrated in the PAGA system, for direct and fast communications between the different areas of the plant and the central control
  • Radio system for wireless communication

For these systems the same criteria of redundancy and type of equipment described previously are valid because they depend on the environment in which they will need to be installed.