Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is deploying drones to monitor its pipeline network across the country. The company has doubled down on its use of technology to prevent fuel theft from its pipelines. This will not only help prevent theft, but accidents can also be avoided. The country’s largest petroleum company is the first to monitor any leakage in its 15,000-km-long pipeline network through technology and patrolling. Now the company is also using drones to monitor its network.
Officials said 34 cases of fuel theft were foiled and 53 people arrested in 2020-21 using the technology. The latest incident took place on August 17 in Sonipat, Haryana. The official said that under the Petroleum and Mineral Pipeline (Acquisition of Road) Act, 1961, any attempt to theft from a pipeline is a serious offense. It is a non-bailable offence. The culprit can be punished with imprisonment of 10 years or more.
The IOC has recently started drone surveillance of the 120-km Delhi-Panipat section of the Mathura-Jalandhar pipeline. These pipelines allow high-pressure flow of highly flammable petroleum products like petrol and diesel, an official said. Any attempt to theft in these can lead to serious accidents and loss of life and property. The official said the IOC has put in place a SCADA-based system to closely monitor the flow of the pipeline network. Apart from this, the company is also using Leakage Detection System (LDS).