Requirements for Real-Time Oil and Gas Pipeline Surveillance with Wireless Sensors for Theft and Sabotage Mitigation
The security of oil and gas pipelines is a great challenge to the global oil and gas industry and government. In countries such as Nigeria, USA and those in Europe, oil theft and other incidents through pipeline sabotage are increasing. In Nigeria this sabotage amounts to $12 billion annually. Consequently, affected countries now seek other means of transporting these resources beside the pipeline based supply chain. This underscores the urgent need to develop robust pipeline surveillance systems to mitigate pipeline sabotage and third party interference. Statistics show that in the last decade, over 95% of pipeline leakages were due to artificial (human) damages. This paper categorises pipeline detection systems into external interference and leak detection systems. Thereafter, it reviews the causes of pipeline adverse incidents. From this it presents an analysis of the fundamental characteristics of the state-of-the-art pipeline monitoring techniques with strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threat (SWOT) analysis. This analysis indicates that techniques employing Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) are generally of low cost, more secure, reliable and responsive. Having carried out the SWOT and then identifies the urgent need for “smart” pipeline surveillance technology, a system specification for integrated real-time technique based on Wireless Sensor Network is presented. The paper recommends the integration of a range of surveillance techniques that provide maximum surveillance coverage for oil and gas pipelines.