Royal Dutch Shell needed to provide all-weather 24/7 real-time surveillance in more than a 5000 meter radius around the Prelude FLNG, which is the largest floating structure ever built. In June of this year the platform left the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea and journeyed 5,800km across the ocean to Australia. After the hook-up and commissioning is complete, Prelude will extract and liquefy natural gas at sea. Royal Dutch Shell anticipates that the Prelude be moored 200 km off of the Coast of Australia for 25 years. The 488 meters-long and 74 meters-wide platform weighs around 600,000 tons – roughly six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier.
Royal Dutch Shell’s strategic asset will face potential intruders or random fisherman approaching on small crafts, which are hard to detect with conventional surveillance equipment. In a fairly high traffic area, Royal Dutch Shell also sought to identify larger vessels through visual detection, radar and AIS. It’s a highly visible project, but it poses several challenges for an imaging system: isolation, a wide area to monitor, occasional severe weather and a need for a reliable, proven solution that can sustain extensive 24/7 operation over months of use in salty water.
Although the security personnel use small patrol boats equipped with short range radar, the area at risk requires a much broader solution that gives the control room visibility on the platform perimeter at all times. A large number of PTZ cameras were first considered for wide area surveillance but it became clear that the number of high performance cameras needed to cover the full area would make the project complex and costly. Detection requirements insisted the range had to meet 5000m, with a 360° horizontal field of view which would have implied dozens of traditional PTZ cameras and a high installation and maintenance cost.
The panoramic solution
Electro Optical Industries’ Spynel panoramic security system provides a ruggedized, passive, wide-area surveillance capability even in total darkness and adverse environmental conditions. The Spynel-C 3000 uses a continuously rotating line scan sensor to produce a 360° 12 Megapixel image and detects and tracks an unlimited number of intruders in real time. The Spynel camera operates like high definition “optical radar”, providing operators with clear, reliable, actionable data.
In this deployment, two Spynel cameras are mounted to stationary towers located on both sides of the platform. The 10,000 meter radius area is fully covered by the 5 degree vertical field of view of the sensors. Each detection zone covers a 300° angle, the rest of the panorama being obstructed by the platform infrastructure. The camera’s advanced long wave infrared sensor is capable of detecting any kind of watercrafts, day or night, at distances over 5 km. The LWIR sensor is not impaired by solar reflection on the water, as demonstrated in multiple preliminary tests.
In areas obstructed by the platform infrastructure, short range thermal and visible PTZ cameras built for explosive atmospheres (ATEX certified) were installed to ensure close perimeter security under 800 meters. Cyclope software integrates feeds from all sensors combined with a long range radar and AIS used for identification of larger boats. The software platform will prioritize alarms and bring up the Spynel image whenever a confirmed threat is detected. Alerts data can be brought back to shore in real time. The Spynel easily integrated with the hypervisor platform through a SDK based on standard protocols.
The Spynel is built specifically for operation in harsh, unprotected environments. The military and maritime specified construction is immune to the corrosive nature of ocean weather, all while standing up to the rigors of 24/7 operation. It also provides a solution that requires minimal maintenance and repair resources for effective performance.
Consistent 24/7 imaging
The EOI Spynel infrared system provides effective coverage of ultra-wide areas while offering a lower total cost of ownership than a combination of multiple other sensors. The passive, long wave infrared technology provides consistent imaging with detection protected from electronic jamming and camouflaging. The Spynel is not affected like a radar is by sea clutter. Additionally, the ruggedized design and hardware allows for operational effectiveness in all environments and the standalone system is economical to operate and requires minimal maintenance.