With over 15,000 kilometres of pipeline in the Netherlands and northern Germany, dozens of sites and approximately 1,300 gas receiving stations, Gasunie operates one of the largest high pressure, gas pipeline grids in Europe. Its network forms the core of the so-called northwest European 'gas roundabout' and its security relies on Geutebruck technology.
Gasunie's sites vary greatly in function and size. Some are very small, remote and rarely visited. Others occupy several hectares and are occupied by dozens of Gasunie employees and visiting contractors. The security infrastructure depends on the site and ranges from simple fencing to sophisticated fence systems with perimeter detection systems and CCTV. "The fundamental requirement at every location is that unauthorised intruders are always identified as fast as possible at the perimeter," explains Reiner Woldring, Gasunie's corporate security advisor.
"Where necessary there are two high fences with alarm systems on the outer fence," adds Herman von Hierden, a member of Gasunie's electrotechnics, instrumentation and process control department. "That way unauthorised intrusion can be detected even earlier."
The CCTV systems operating on 25 sites allow security processes which are aimed at limiting access to authorized staff, such as verifying and tracking intruder alarm reports, to all be coordinated from the 24-hour Groningen control centre. "We need camera pictures for verifying the alarm reports which may need to be followed up by the police or another special guarding service," reports Reiner Woldring. "For this we need good quality cameras, reliable transmission and storage of camera pictures as well as user-friendly functions for calling up the pictures in the alarm centre."
To keep its systems up to date Gasunie operates a rolling programme of infrastructure expansion and modernisation which applies to the security equipment too. All its cameras are currently managed through a modern Geutebruck GeViScope platform which is fully integrated into the company's own management system. Local system integrators Alphatron and Strukton Systems have been responsible for upgrading the cameras and remain responsible for the maintenance of the alarm centre systems.
|Whenever there is an alarm, control centre staff can immediately replay the recorded footage|
IP-based systems are now standard across all sites. "Nowadays we work with a lot fewer cameras per site" explains Herman von Hierden, "and most of them can be remote controlled from the centre." Control centre staff can call up camera images in real time and immediately replay the recorded footage whenever there is an alarm.
Automatically controlled lighting has made nocturnal camera surveillance possible even on remote sites. - The challenge on remote sites has always been data connectivity. "The limited bandwiths available between head office and some of Gasunie's remoter gas pumping locations generate perfect environments for Geutebruck equipment to demonstrate its efficient bandwidth management," grins Koen Pelle, Geutebruck country manager for the Netherlands.
Protecting such a nationally and internationally critical infrastructure network involves preparing for everything - including a catastrophic failure which knocks out the Groningen control centre. For this eventuality Gasunie has set up an equivalent security centre at an undisclosed location elsewhere in the Netherlands. "Whenever necessary this second centre can be used to take over all duties," assures Reiner Woldring.