Abstract

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a Government of India undertaking under Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is a fortune 500 company. It operates petroleum product cross country pipelines of total length of 2600 Km across India. The cross country pipeline is laid underground at a depth of about 1.5 m to 2.0 m from natural ground level.

BPCL cross country pipeline passes through different terrain like forest, barren land, farm land, urban area, river and sea etc. and there is no dedicated utility corridor provided to petroleum pipeline. BPCL is required to carry out pipeline surveillance and security to check health of pipeline like any encroachment on pipeline route, any sabotage on pipeline, any leak on pipeline and condition of ROU (Right of Use) of pipeline route. Traditional system was to deploy 1 pipeline surveillance personnel for every 8-10 Km length of pipeline who is required to walk on entire length of pipeline to see the top layer of soil condition to make assessment of any leakage from pipeline or attempt for dislodging the soil for undesired actions. We have deployed about 400 personnel who walk on pipeline, monitor and report any abnormality on pipeline to base station which is at every 40 Km. There was no system in place to measure their performance and monitor pipeline surveillance work on real time basis. Since pipeline spreads in different parts on country and difficult to even reach to such places on regular basis by officers even if he is able to identify any incident to report, the information reached is so slow that damage of large magnitude was unavoidable.

The Pipeline is underground throughout and carrying highly inflammable & hazardous petroleum products at very high pressure (90 bars or so). Any pilferage or leak in the pipeline may lead to environment, fire as well as human hazard.

Though Night Patrolling Vehicle (NPV) crew consisting of an armed security guard, a supervisor and vehicle with driver is deployed to check the highly vulnerable areas of pipeline for any pilferage/sabotage attempts on pipeline in night hours, we have daunting task to check actual performance of pipeline surveillance system in absence to real time online performance system.

Due to these deficiencies and process of communication being slow from field to the person concerned there was rise in petroleum product pilferage & theft incidences on pipeline. There are many cases were antisocial elements punctured the petroleum product pipeline and connected their pipes to main pipe and stolen the product from the pipeline to fill their own tanks trucks. Apart from loss of product such leakages poses great environmental risk and may lead to major accident or disaster of high magnitude and stoppage of pumping etc. BPCL pioneered to use latest digital technology of real time monitoring of pipeline surveillance work to check, monitor and measure pipeline surveillance system to reduce the pilferage/theft incidences on pipelines to avoid any major disastrous situation on pipeline.

After the successful implementation of GPS based ROU monitoring of BPCL pipelines, it was further improved to make use of this modern technology to link surveillance personnel performance to their monthly wage/salary payment on line.

Necessary programs were developed in the system for the automatic calculation of performance grade of each personnel deployed for surveillance work and programme calculates the wage payment to the person. This data then gets converted to monthly attendance sheet which then automatically transfers to the payment gateway of the Security agency and then to the bank account of the surveillance personnel for the payment.

The GPS system has provided to monitor pipeline surveillance system performance on real time basis without visiting the site. It has increased reliability of monitoring system & reduced the pilferage/theft incidents to great extent thus increasing the pipeline through put and safety. Also the payment of the services were prompt and with proper reports. It has brought in lot of discipline in the system and people are accountable for the jobs carried out by line walkers. Payment is made based on actual performance measured by system i.e. performance to monitor to measure to improvement to payment made on line seamless by using technology with all records intact. We have scrapped use of paper for this process and make it screen based.

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