IOC to use drones to check fuel thefts in pipelines, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

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New Delhi: Indian Oil Corp (IOC) deploys drones to monitor its vast pipeline network across the country as it redoubles the use of technology to thwart attempted fuel theft, not only helping to save product , but also to avoid accidents. The country’s largest oil company is already using a combination of sophisticated technology and patrols to detect any leaks from the pipeline network stretching over 15,000 kilometers. And now he’s adding drones to monitor the vast network, officials said.

The use of the technology made it possible to curb 34 fuel theft attempts and arrest 53 people in fiscal year 2020-21, they said, adding that the latest incident had occurred at Sonipat, in Haryana, August 17.

IOC recently started drone surveillance of the 120 km long Delhi-Panipat section of the Mathura-Jalandhar pipeline. The drones’ live feed was monitored for leaks and attempted fuel theft, they said.

Pipelines are the lifeline of an economy, and any attempt to disrupt the flow of energy through underground highways has far-reaching ramifications.

The looting of these pipelines, which carry highly flammable petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel at high pressure, can cause serious accidents that threaten lives and damage property in addition to disrupting the energy supply.

“Any attempted theft on these pipelines is a serious offense under Articles 15 and 16 of the Petroleum and Mineral Pipeline Act 1961 (Acquisition of Right of Way). years or more, “said an official.

IOC has deployed a SCADA-based system to closely monitor flow through the pipeline network and uses a Leak Detection System (LDS) to identify temporary vulnerabilities, officials said.

The company, which operates more than 15,000 km of pipeline network across the country that transports fuels like gasoline and diesel from oil refineries to consumption centers, has deployed a robust 24-hour monitoring system to track pipeline theft or any other disruptive attempt. on its pipeline network.

The company closely monitors pipeline flow, pressure parameters and trends through an instrumentation and control monitoring and data acquisition (SCADA) system. On top of that, an LDS provides 24X7 analysis to identify temporary vulnerabilities, officials said.

In addition, a comprehensive system of physical inspection of the entire network on foot by line patrollers and DGR guards is also in place.

To further improve the efficiency of this constant watch, the movements of line patrollers and DGR guards are monitored by devices compatible with the global positioning system (GPS).

The existing pipeline right-of-way is also mapped by geo-fencing.

“Such GPS-tracked physical inspections also help spot and identify anomalies such as loose soil, the smell of leaking petroleum products or suspicious tire marks from vehicles near pipelines,” an official said.

The IOC teams, as well as the local police, also carry out periodic joint patrols in vulnerable places to monitor any unauthorized activity.

To further strengthen the security of its pipelines, IndianOil has undertaken targeted digital initiatives such as the fiber-based Pipeline Intrusion Detection and Warning System (PIDWS).

This system is currently being implemented over 5,474 km of its pipeline length.

The system is already operational on 997 km of the pipeline network, and the rest will be commissioned by 2022-2023.

Officials said IOC is also exploring several other innovative security protocols to further improve pipeline security, such as the “negative pressure wave type leak / theft detection system” and monitor the vast network via drones.

Based on past experience in combating this threat, IndianOil has also identified the most vulnerable sections of pipelines for better monitoring, they said adding that these locations are monitored via CCTV and routes pipelines are shared with the local administration for better supervision.

In addition, to ensure prompt redress, issues related to theft are handled at different levels of state government and police departments.

“IOC’s concerted efforts to address the threat of pipeline theft resulted in the rapid location of perpetrators engaged in such criminal activity across the country. In 2020-2021, 53 arrests were made against 34 attempted arrests. theft of pipelines across the country, ”an official said. noted.

The surveillance system is further strengthened by obtaining local support to improve the efficiency of the overall process.

As the population along the pipeline route is sensitized, informant reward programs have also been put in place to incite local surveillance, officials said adding that the identities of citizens reporting such an intrusion illegal would remain confidential. PTI ANZ ANZ DRR DRR


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