Live Surveillance for Oil Refineries


August 30, 2022

Recent attacks on oil processing facilities re-enforced the fear that many petrochemical and oil & gas (O&G) facilities are becoming major targets in the world of terrorism and espionage. A whole industry is committed to site security, including global regulations to protect the safety and integrity of such critical infrastructures that the whole world relies on daily for normal everyday living.

Oil Refinery

The two main regulations in the petrochemical industry are the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

CFATS is the nation’s first regulatory program focused specifically on security at high-risk chemical facilities. Managed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the CFATS program identifies and regulates high-risk facilities to ensure security measures are in place to reduce the risk that certain dangerous chemicals are weaponized by terrorists.

Oil companies must also consider the risk to their reputation if they were to be the subject of a major security breach or terrorist incident. The harm to the company reputation could far outweigh any financial penalties or cost of physical damage.

 Securing Petrochemical Sites

 The reliance on technology is a major part of the approach to security. Soliton Systems has been developing IT and Cyber security products for over 40 years and more recently has developed portable products that are used in physical surveillance to allow encrypted live streaming from a range of remote locations whether it is moving vehicles, surveillance drones, body-cams, boats or helicopters. These ultra-low latency encrypted live streams can be used for real time analysis either by AI or manual reviewing of multiple streams simultaneously. Furthermore, it can be used to identify threats from a distance, thereby giving valuable time for relevant authorities to take action before physical infrastructure is destroyed or worse, loss of life has come-to-pass.

 Soliton’s Zao-X is a portable device that can reliably live stream over multiple cellular connections, Wi-Fi or satellite, with a typical 4G latency of around 65ms back to a command and control room, from any remote location. Soliton also recognizes there are many third party devices used in petrochemical surveillance that rely on live streaming, but do not want to integrate with an external piece of hardware. Soliton’s RASCOW2 protocol that is a fundamental element of the Zao-X, is designed to operate over unstable and low bandwidth connections, can be offered as a software SDK and used as an OEM within other company devices. It can be embedded to provide ultra low latency encrypted live streaming from a UAV, BVLOS drone, remote control robot, virtual perimeter, or remotely driven vehicles via different mobile network connections.

 BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) drones are ideal for monitoring vast areas. Drones can carry anomaly detection software that could trigger an alarm that goes to a security operations center (SOC). The hazard response or security team can then react quickly and appropriately.

 The most effective method to determine how to meet the regulatory requirements is to work closely with the regulatory authority and to interact with peers in the O&G industry. By executing a risk analysis, any gaps can be identified, and by consulting with security partners and consultants, technology-based solutions can be approved as required.

 When used correctly, technology can not only meet regulatory needs, but also provide significant cost savings through automation of specific manual processes.

 Having a keen understanding of the business operations, compliance adherence and how to streamline production without disrupting business is key to successfully helping and securing a petrochemical facility. Soliton’s secure live streaming and cyber security experience is a major asset to the Oil & Gas industry.

Mark Andrews

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