Preventing Theft in the Oil and Gas Field

Unfortunately, theft is an inevitable part of any business. For as long as there have been trading and business, there are people who stole physical goods and labor. Retail theft costs the industry up to $40 billion annually. Labor theft, which is the act of not paying workers a just wage, on the other hand, cost employees more than $50 billion. While this reality paints a terrible picture in the American business industry, retail and labor theft are only two categories of theft. In the oil and gas field, it’s especially critical to install security systems such as oil and gas camera monitoring systems – specifically for the remote locations – to prevent theft.

What is oilfield theft?

Theft in oil and gas sites may appear to be an obscure objective. Many oil and gas sites are in very harsh environments. Additionally, these locations are often hard to find and very remote; not to mention that most of the equipment used in these operations are massive and immovable.

You would think that those factors would deter theft; unfortunately, that’s not the case. Smaller-scale convenience theft (the theft of small tools) to large-scale equipment theft is rampant in the industry. According to, a total of $1 billion in oilfield theft is reported every year.

This is an astonishing figure for a niche filed like the oil and gas industry. While it’s nothing like the figures for retail theft and labor theft, it’s still a staggering and alarming number and is becoming a significant concern in the United States.

Why do criminals target oil and gas sites?

If you were under the assumption that oil and gas sites are not the usual targets for theft, then you’re not the only one. Many people presume that these sites are unreachable, so thieves would not likely target them. However, that is precisely the kind of thinking that criminals have that inspired them to steal from these places.

The energy sector often uses essential and costly tools and equipment. If you think about the lacking security in the oilfield, that’s what makes criminals take advantage of the system in place. The main problem is it seems unexpected; everyone is unsuspecting that oil sites will get robbed.

People are also most likely thinking that selling these stolen goods would be challenging for criminals. However, according to reports, there is a market for these stolen oilfield goods – which just keeps on growing. Selling these stolen products may not be as simple as other usual products, but it does happen.

From the oil to the tubes, pipes, and wires are the most common stolen items. Oil and gas camera monitoring systems will immensely help prevent those incidents. Many of the larger and more niche equipment is not sold within the United States border for fear of being caught; criminals sell them outside the country ’s borders. It’s reported that there is a developing market in Mexico for fenced oil goods. Companies who illegally buy stolen goods either use the items themselves or ship them to a different location. According to, oilfields in West Texas have reported $400,000 to $800,000 loss by theft per month.

How do thieves steal from oilfields?

On top of oilfield theft being unexpected, this kind of theft happens because oil and gas operators and managers may not be aware of the ways they can protect themselves and their assets. More of than not, energy employees have not been appropriately informed about the commonality and the severity of the issue. The remote oil and gas job locations also contribute to the oilfield security being lax – as opposed to an office in the busy part of a city where they would most likely treat security with higher regard.

Sophisticated and professional criminal groups execute most oilfield theft. Other times, they are done by small-time criminals. Due to the oilfield sites being in the middle of nowhere, simple tasks such as monitoring who goes in and out and locking up the field office are neglected. Thus, oil and gas camera monitoring systems will help in this task. By installing these systems, the oilfield manager or operator don’t have to be on site to overlook these things physically. The manager can merely instruct the field officers and remind of the tasks they may have forgotten.