Devon Energy raises security

Monday, March 17th 2008, 5:14 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

The high price of oil is leading thieves to steal and make big bucks on the black market. They're hitting the oil fields, targeting companies like Devon Energy.

"Aside from casinos, I think we've got the best security technology going in the business," Devon Director of Global Security, Kent Chrisman said.

Serving as Devon Energy's eyes, 250 cameras monitor 17 different locations around the globe.

"With rising oil prices, and everything else, theft is a major problem," Chrisman said.

Devon's security team watches and waits 24 hours a day in the Oklahoma City control center.

"You're able to do so much with the technology," Devon Security Supervisor Shaun Poweshiek said. "We're actually able to transmit a video clip to our supervisors on their palm pilots and their video phones."

The security team looks for criminals and safeguards employees. The thieves love to steal tools or barrels of fuel from drill sites. Then, they sell the goods on the black market.

"We've had these guys come up to a drill location and drive off with a whole trailer full of tools," Chrisman said.

Sometimes the cameras catch the oddest things. Like a guy wearing nothing but his boxers, carrying a beer, vandalizing a Devon compressor station in Texas.

"It's on the funny side," Chrisman said. "We look at and laugh at this, but it does cost the industry thousands and thousands of dollars."

The man shut down the station's engine, trapping natural gas, preventing it from moving down the pipeline. Devon turned the video over to police.

"The guy was quite surprised when the Texas Rangers showed up at his house to talk to him," Chrisman said. "It's a crime, not only a state crime, but a federal crime."

The more cameras, the more bad guys Devon can catch and the easier it is for investigators.

Devon even monitors its own building downtown at its worldwide headquarters. There are 40 different cameras, both outside and inside. The whole point is to make sure the employees are safe.

Devon can lockdown any of its facilities around the world from here. Pretty soon, they'll likely put mobile cameras on offshore rigs.

"We're by no means finished with this," Chrisman said. "As we move forward with some of these sites, and as Devon continues to expand, we'll continue to expand our security operations."

Devon Energy will also include a cutting edge security system in the new headquarters it plans to build downtown.