After the recent drone attack on an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, there has been a lot of buzz around the challenge of protecting oil refineries and energy sites from drone-related attacks and possible air attack incidents. While this is a complex issue that is challenging to solve for many companies, the issue is much larger than how to protect against drones and air-borne threats.

For companies involved in exploring, drilling, refining, and delivering oil and gas products, physical security measures as a whole are essential to day-to-day operations. From drilling sites in desert regions to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico to huge coastal refineries taking up many acres, keeping staff and products safe is the number one priority. Physical security can be extremely challenging due to these sites being large, remote, on coastlines, and at high risk for incident.

Determining how to protect against possible security threats requires us first to define what those threats may be. Common potential threats for energy sites include:

  • Intruders, both on foot and in vehicles, looking to vandalize or steal
  • Intruders with explosive devices or gunmen
  • Air-borne threats, such as drones dropping explosive devices
  • For coastal sites, boats with intruders with malicious intent

It’s not only important to understand the possible security threats energy sites are trying to prevent, but it’s also vital to understand common challenges these types of facilities face when it comes to physical security. Common challenges for energy sites include:

  • Sites are often in remote locations
  • Sites consist of open areas with a large footprint and limited access to technology
  • Some sites are in very close proximity to large bodies of water where malicious water vessels become a large concern but are hard to detect

Due to the type of challenges and threats the energy sector must protect against, many energy sites are trying to move to an automated situational awareness approach. But what does that mean? Like many critical infrastructure sites, energy sites are in need of security solutions that fully integrate each layer of security into a single platform.

One area of need for oil and gas sites is the ability for long-range threat detection. Surveillance radar technology, such as GroundAware, enables organizations to integrate a long-range detection technology into a security solution to increase awareness of perimeters and beyond. By integrating surveillance radar, energy sites now have the ability to detect and track potential threats up to 15 kilometers in distances and classify those threats as humans, animals, ground and water vehicles, aircrafts, and drones, prior to a camera putting eyes on the target. This capability allows for automated camera slewing and alarm triggers to ensure the highest level of security possible for incoming targets.

Using an event-based, layered security approach, energy sites can integrate each security technology into one platform, allowing security personnel to focus on real threats and reduce the need for watching multiple screens at once for potential security threats. By incorporating long-range detection into a physical security platform, security personnel can detect potential threats at distances to allow for response prior to intruders entering the perimeter or damaging a site. Using layered security practices and automating responses, energy sites are much more secure when it comes to physical security.

For more information on how GroundAware and long-range radar surveillance can help protect your energy site, contact us.