Petroleum Industry Ramps Up Security Measures

Petroleum Industry Ramps Up Security Measures

Posted by Steve Diebold


Recent rises in oil costs are driving up theft of fuel and petroleum products. Industry groups report global losses of up to 130 billion dollars in oil and oil products from theft and fraud. Estimates vary but the US alone is reported to lose about 8 billion dollars of petroleum products and fuel.

About a quarter of the losses are estimated to be fuel stolen from vehicles and three quarters of the total is based on estimates from losses reported in transport tankers, filling operations, and storage facilities.

The growing problem has prompted major oil companies to significantly increase tamper and theft protection measures surrounding their products in processing, transit and storage. In addition to surveillance and policing measures a key practice is tamper sealing of filling and access points


AC&M is working with industry leaders in production and delivery of oil and fuel worldwide to match their security sealing programs to the changing needs. Our company manufactures and supplies tamper evident security seals for all sectors of the petroleum industry. Since 1910 our family-owned US manufacturing company has been a trusted supplier of seals for all industries. Our service to the oil industry dates to the beginnings of modern mass oil refining around the time of our start.

Current upgrades in today’s higher risk oil supply chain include stronger seals and devices as well as enhanced and expanded monitoring and tracking of seals.

In many refineries the valve and control systems are changing from plastic indicative seals to higher strength cable seals that deter unauthorized access. Meanwhile the internal record keeping and monitoring of seals is expanding to help give security personnel greater oversight of the product movement within their plants and at the entry and exit points.

Distribution centers are also upgrading to higher strength cable seals for both rail and road tankers. This removes potential for “accidental” breakage of tamper seals. It requires intentional cutting with strong tools to remove a cable or bolt seal. As internal tracking systems are being upgraded some companies are moving to seals with barcodes to help store and use seal data for theft and fraud detection through statistical study.

High strength seal types now being deployed for oil tankers and equipment include:

  • All steel cable seals -- Model CL-99
  • Aluminum and steel seals -- Model Cablelock with barcode capability
  • Bolt seals made of all steel -- model BLT-1
  • Several Bolt seal models with plastic coating and barcoding


Companies delivering fuel in bulk tankers are taking this action in some cases to stop outside theft and in others they are preventing internal theft through “skimming” or unauthorized partial offloads. To detect and stop this kind of theft requires a systematic approach to monitoring seals and innovative review of data and trends. This is especially effective in finding organized theft and fraud.

AC&M not only offers a comprehensive line of seals to meet this need, but we offer decades of expertise in tactics and countermeasures to reduce losses. Efforts by our customer to increase their security not only helps the profit of their company but also contributes to safer operations for employees and customers alike. AC&M partners with our customers to accomplish both goals

Contact an expert at AC&M for more information on available seals and any questions regarding best practices and strategies for their use.