The Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has been expanding its petrol station network in Russia since 1993. Statoil petrol stations are presently operating in the Murmansk, Leningrad and Pskov regions. Based on its successful experience, the company has set an ambitious goal to become one of the leaders on the fuel market in Northwest Russia. This will require a reliable solution that provides security for the entire network of petrol stations.
Statoil ASA is a Norwegian state-run oil company that was established in 1972 by the Norwegian parliament (known as Stortinget). In 2002, the company was converted to a public company and was partially privatized and listed on stock exchanges. The Norwegian government owns s2in the company.
In December of 2006, the boards of Norsk Hydro and Statoil decided to merge their oil and gas assets. The merger was completed on October 1, 2007 and the new company became known as StatoilHydro. Statoil shareholders acquired 67.3% of the merged company while shareholders of Norsk Hydro acquired 32.7%. The largest owner of the new company became the Norwegian government, acquiring approximately 62.5% of shares.
Statoil is the largest company in Norway and the largest oil and gas company in northern Europe. It is one of the key suppliers of crude oil on the global market and the largest supplier of natural gas on the European market. Statoil provides approximately 60% of Norway’s shelf hydrocarbon production and also produces in North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The Norwegian company owns numerous oil refining capacities in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Statoil is also a participant in several pipeline projects.
Statoil is currently the leading petrol station operator in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Baltic states and is actively expanding business in Poland. The company has ambitious plans to become a leader on the fuel market of the Pskov Region and of Northwest Russia as a whole. Development of the Russian retail network is being handled by Statoil Energy & Retail Russia, a subsidiary of Statoil.
The first Statoil petrol station in Russia was opened in Murmansk in 1993. The Murmansk Region presently has 9 operational Statoil stations that cumulatively serve more than 50,000 customers each week. Statoil was the first western oil company to open a retail network in this part of Russia.
Based on successful experience obtained in the Murmansk Region, Statoil continued its expansion in Northwest Russia. The first petrol station began operating in Saint Petersburg and the company plans to build a network of 40 stations over the next 5-7 years. Two stations are currently operating in Saint Petersburg. In April of 2009, a Statoil petrol station was opened in the city of Otradnoe in the Leningrad Region.
The next region for development was the geographically advantageous Pskov Region. Eighteen percent of all Russian transport passes through this region, thereby resulting in a demand for high-quality gasoline. 7 Statoil petrol stations are operating in this region.
Ensuring reliable security is a crucial aspect of developing a petrol station network. After all, a modern petrol station may include not only gas pumps but also a convenience store, café, carwash, service garages and ATMs. Effective protection of various petrol station facilities while ensuring customer convenience requires a system that is capable of reliably monitoring all important areas of a station with the necessary number of workstations for monitoring. Additionally, Statoil’s plans for large-scale development of its network within Russia makes scalability a crucial feature of the system. This entails the expansion of security systems in each individual petrol station, the connection of new subsystems and the capability to link all local systems of individual stations into a unified whole with centralized monitoring sites. With a sufficiently large network, such an approach enables reduced service costs for the security system, thereby making it more cost-effective. Moreover, moving monitoring points out of petrol stations will reduce the possibility of collusion and increase the overall level of security.
“Our first meeting with Sergei Kochergin, director of the Murmansk branch of Statoil (who now serves as the general director of Statoil Retail Operations) and senior expert Andrei Khrapeychuk was held at a petrol station of one of the Murmansk Region operators where we were installing a video surveillance system. The first version of “Intellect” was released while we were discussing the next project. The responsiveness, benevolence, technical support and work behavior of the then young company AxxonSoft guided my choice in favor of Intellect, and I have never regretted that decision ever since, - recounts Vladimir Schukin, technical director of the Advanced Technologies Center “Universal”. - I always try to brief the customer during the first phase of project development. I show them video images from similar facilities in order to specify their objective and I present an FAQ on some industry specific Do’s and Don’t's and popular misconceptions about security applications. The more I understand their objective and the more the customer understands the capabilities of the system, the better chances there are for success. And the first phase of our work resulted in Statoil choosing a previously unknown “Intellect” product.”
In 2004, Universal installed the first three Intellect systems at petrol stations in Murmansk and two more in the cities of Monchegorsk and Apatity. A 24-camera video server and a remote workstation with two 19-inch monitors were installed in each of the abovementioned stations. Five color and nineteen black and white video cameras monitor the fuel pumps, forecourt air compressors, convenience store retail area, points of sale, storage facilities and vehicle entrance and exitways. The petrol station manager has access to all video cameras, thereby ensuring real-time monitoring and archiving.
In December of 2006, a petrol station was opened in the city of Polyarnye Zori. Based on successful operational experience, the decision was made to install 32 video cameras. In June of 2008, another petrol station was opened in Severomorsk. It also has Intellect installed.
By the end of 2008, the first five stations were upgraded. The number of cameras in these stations was increased to 32, the average recording speed was increased to 4 frames per second and the disk array was increased from 1.2 Tb to 3 Tb, which enabled an archive to cover one and a half months.
In October of 2008, the Statoil board asked Universal to examine the possibility of installing Intellect-based systems at six petrol stations within the Pskov Region. These six stations are located in the Velikie Luky, Sebezhsky, Ostrovsky, Opochetsky and Pustoshkinsky subregions. The stations are situated along the most important federal traffic arteries passing through the region. Video recording systems had already been previously installed at these stations. However, the Statoil board was not happy with the quality of installation, the technical solution nor the image quality obtained from the video cameras.
“Thanks to our long-standing collaboration, Statoil understands what we can do, and again, thanks to our long-standing partnership and thorough development of each objective, I understand what the customer wants. I think this is precisely the reason why Statoil again turned to us, even though we are located in Murmansk. As before, the objectives were set by Andrei Khrapeychuk, and the project’s success was undoubtedly due to his clear formulation of objectives and his direct involvement in project development”, noted Vladimir Schukin.
The successfully proven configuration, which was already familiar to Statoil employees, served as the foundation for the new Intellect-based systems. This configuration includes the installation of a 32-channel video server in the manager's office and a remote workstation in the retail area with two 19-inch monitors. Personnel must have the capability to monitor customer behavior on the sales floor, monitor the operation of equipment in forecourts and record the makes and license plate numbers of vehicles whose drivers either intentionally or inadvertently drive off without paying for fuel.
The system monitors the following:
During a constructive dialog with Statoil experts, Universal developed projects and estimates for all seven operational petrol stations in an extremely short amount of time.
After Statoil’s acquisition of another petrol station in Murmansk from Nafta Trade at the end of November, 2008, Universal received another order. Universal had already previously installed a video recording system running the AxxonSoft Video7 product at this station while it was owned by Nafta Trade. However, this was a rather modest solution that did not satisfy the current requirements of the Statoil management board. For that reason, the video server in the petrol station was replaced, archive capacity was increased, certain video cameras were replaced, two monitors were installed in the retail area, another remote workstation was added and video cameras were installed in storage facilities. Upon completion of construction work in the petrol station’s utility building, cameras from the three carwash stalls will be linked to the video recording system.
While installing security systems at facilities of the supermarket chain City Gourmet, Universal came up with great solutions and acquired positive experience in using microphones at checkout counters. The management board of Statoil Energy & Retail Russia were offered the choice to have microphones installed at the checkout counters of petrol stations in the Pskov Region. The results of this pleased Statoil so much that they decided to set up audio recording at Murmansk branch petrol stations.
Due to the installation of systems based on Intellect software, Statoil obtained a reliable and effective solution for ensuring security at its petrol stations. The solution proved so successful that the management board of Statoil Energy & Retail Russia decided to equip all of their newly constructed petrol stations in the Pskov Region with Intellect-based systems. Petrol station managers also noted the effectiveness of the installed systems, particularly emphasizing the help the systems provide in dispute resolution with customers and employees.
“At this stage, these systems are the key component to ensuring the security of all Statoil petrol stations in Russia. New stations that were commissioned this year have also been equipped with systems based on Intellect", - said Andrei Khrapeychuk. - The best feature of this system is its holistic approach, enabling the performance of other functions besides video recording, namely audio recording, access control, linkage of various types of notification systems for errors, equipment failures and other contingency situations."
The Advanced Technology Center “Universal” has extensive experience in deploying security systems of varying complexities. The company’s portfolio includes development of systems at facilities such as the Murmansk Sea Port, the Arctic Hotel, the Murmansk Airport, City Gourmet Supermarket facilities, the Belokamenka Floating Oil Storage Facility, as well as shopping centers, sports facilities, restaurants, scientific institutions and fishing and fish-processing facilities.