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Garrow Wessendorf June 7, 2021

Preventing Theft at Drillsites and Other Remote, Isolated Locations with Virtual Gate Guard Services

preventing-theft-at-drillsitesEmployee theft and fraud cost US businesses an estimated $20-50 billion each year. Globally that figure exceeds $4.5 trillion. While reviewing cases of global occupation fraud/theft across multiple industries, the Austin, Texas-based Association of Certified Fraud Examiners discovered that most occupational frauds are committed by employee-level or manager-level personnel. The association’s Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse noted that fraud typically goes undetected for 14 months.

According to law enforcement officers in Texas, oilfield theft costs companies millions of dollars each week and is a huge problem, especially in remote locations with limited security. Based on prosecuted cases, thieves are typically disloyal current and/or former employees looking to make a buck at the expense of their employer.

In the Permian Basin of West Texas, the problem of oilfield theft became great enough for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), together with state and local law enforcement, to create the Permian Basin Oilfield Theft Task Force in 2008. The Task Force’s mission is to gather and share information, identify patterns and organizations, and aggressively prosecute and seize assets using wiretaps and undercover operations. Since the organization’s inception, the task force has successfully prosecuted theft of oilfield equipment, oil, fuel, copper wiring, and cases of wire and mail fraud.

In the wire/mail fraud cases, oilfield trucking companies were emailing and faxing fraudulent work tickets to the oil companies (wire fraud) and oil companies were mailing payments (based on the fraudulent invoices) to the trucking company (mail fraud).

When the oil price and drilling activity are low, fewer oilfield workers are employed. Sherriff Gary Painter of Midland, Texas, said in 2015 laid off oilfield workers will turn to stealing as “it's hard to make money around here without being in the oilfield.” Oilfield theft averages between $400,000 and $800,000 per month according to Painter and includes stolen pipes, valves, tools, solar panels, batteries, fuel, wire and more.

Whether the location is remote or closer to cities or towns, or the oil price high or low, ALL drilling sites are at risk for theft, especially from employees. Keeping oilfield services and rental equipment locked up is not practical in the drilling environment as many items are too large, heavy and bulky to be stored securely. This includes drill pipe, bits, mud tanks, machinery and transportation equipment. Keeping sites clean and organized, and routinely cataloging inventory, helps prevent employee theft. However, neither of these solutions eliminate theft entirely and companies need solutions designed to actively monitor their sites to mitigate theft.

Tracking who is physically entering and exiting a location is by far the most important step for deterring potential theft, which is why most companies employ gate guards to monitor and log site visitors. This security solution is not foolproof, as complications arise from the guard(s) not showing up for work, severe weather fluctuations and finding qualified personnel to man isolated entry points.

Panther Security has introduced a monitoring solution designed to complete all your site security requirements. The self-sustaining solution tracks site visitors day and night with high-definition cellular and satellite-enabled security video footage. In addition, the solution is supported by a fully-staffed, 24-hour-a-day command center. Remote monitoring equipment allows companies to alert local authorities in response to critical site situations such as break-ins or fires, rain or shine.

Panther’s remote monitoring solution is not limited to the oil and gas industry either. Other industries requiring 24-hour monitoring include mining, rail, renewables, game preserves, ranching and construction. Different packages and options are available to provide the right level of security for your remote location. The Panther solution provides:

  • Controlled entry access to your remote location
  • Tracking (in and out) of visitors, contractors and employees
  • Video and log of all personnel entering and leaving the location
  • Tracking of unauthorized visitors
  • 24/7 video monitoring
  • Full range of options and packages

To find out how Panther Security solutions can help keep your remote location safe and secure, contact Panther Security today at 832-260-0082 or

Garrow Wessendorf

President and CEO