VCA analytics energising security and operations for oil and gas sector

10 May 2016


Video analytics is increasingly being used as a powerful tool to help remotely monitor and protect vulnerable facilities such as gas and oil pipelines, and according to Michael von Hauff, CEO of Osprey Informatics, it can also assist operation managers to improve productivity.

Since it was established in 2012, Osprey Informatics has been on a mission to revolutionise the use of video to automate and remotely manage industrial operations. Unlike traditional video surveillance models, the company believes that visual information should not be the exclusive domain of corporate security, but rather seen as an asset that can be utilised throughout an organisation, with a measurable return on investment. It is this philosophy that has resulted in Osprey Informatics acquiring a long list of prestigious clients, including Husky Energy and Pembina Pipeline Corporation.

“A recent report published by MarketsandMarkets Research estimates the oil and gas security and service market will grow from USD26.34 billion in 2015 to USD33.90 billion by 2020,” said von Hauff. “This is not perhaps surprising given the ever increasing sophisticated activities of organised criminal gangs, as well as the risk of terrorist attacks, which can result in major disruption to supplies and potential loss of life, as well as damage to the environment. 

“With this in mind, our clients are looking to invest in the latest video surveillance technology to ensure they can respond effectively to any threats.  We have helped our clients achieve this objective by relying on VCA analytics to play a key role.”

“A recent report published by MarketsandMarkets Research estimates the oil and gas security and service market will grow from USD26.34 billion in 2015 to USD33.90 billion by 2020,” said von Hauff. “This is not perhaps surprising given the ever increasing sophisticated activities of organised criminal gangs, as well as the risk of terrorist attacks, which can result in major disruption to supplies and potential loss of life, as well as damage to the environment. 

“With this in mind, our clients are looking to invest in the latest video surveillance technology to ensure they can respond effectively to any threats.  We have helped our clients achieve this objective by relying on VCA analytics to play a key role.”


Event Detection
VCA analytics, developed in the UK by a team of computer vision scientists, can detect movement within very small areas of a video image and provide operators with a powerful ‘exception’ reporting tool to help identify suspicious activity and when appropriate, to despatch security guards or quickly report the incident to one of the emergency services. The ability to do this is significant as it is widely acknowledged that operators can miss important events after monitoring video for more than 30 minutes or so, and the possibility of this happening is increased when individual operators are tasked to view multiple screens.

Not to be confused with VMD (Video Motion Detection), which works on the basis of detecting changes in the light scales of pixels within a video image, VCA analytics is able to provide a far more reliable and accurate solution. It does so by analysing on a frame-by-frame basis the metadata related to the motion and properties of objects within a video stream. The result is a high detection rate and a dramatic reduction in the kind of false alarms that can be generated by VMD software.

Productivity, Safety & Security “As part of an integrated video surveillance solution, VCA analytics can provide immediate access to images relevant to urgent operational events, allowing operators to respond quickly to production and environmental incidents, as well as security threats,” von Hauff added. “Companies operating in the oil and gas sector understand the need to protect the environment. They also take the responsibility of creating safe working conditions for employees very seriously and recognise the importance of compliance with Health & Safety policies. 

“VCA analytics can clearly help in these areas and the same technology can be deployed to identify opportunities to improve operational efficiencies. It does this by providing accurate data on a wide range of activities, such as the movement of vehicles and personnel at facilities and remote sites. We even have an instance of a client being able to take advantage of the VCA logical rules engine to ascertain if any of their pumpjacks have stopped working. VCA helps them do this by triggering an alert if it does not detect the oscillation of a pumpjack’s plunger rod.” 

Von Hauff cites Pembina Pipeline Corporation, which has grown into one of Canada's largest integrated energy infrastructure companies over the last six decades, as an excellent example of one of its clients that has embraced video analytics as a way of protecting its investment in the infrastructure used to transport oil and natural gas across North America.

Utilising its own brand of high definition IP cameras and domes with VCA analytics on board, Osprey Informatics has supplied a state-of-the-art monitoring solution that provides Pembina Pipeline Corporation with a high level of situational awareness through the use of innovative, user-friendly technology to protect its people, assets and the environment.

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