Machine Learning to Protect Barrow Island

Machine Learning Quarantine System
App Dev + Support + AI/ML

Barrow Island remains one of our nation’s finest Class A Nature Reserves. It is home to the world’s largest non-government quarantine management system which has been recognised locally and globally as “best practice”.


Chevron’s Barrow Island oil field lies beneath Barrow Island, located around 60 kilometres off the northwest coast of Western Australia and about 88 kilometres north of Onslow in the Carnarvon Basin. It is the largest oil field discovered in Western Australia.
Oil was first discovered on Barrow Island more than 50 years ago. Since then, the Barrow Island oil field has yielded more than 327 million barrels of oil and delivered more than $1 billion in revenue.

At the same time, Barrow Island is an important natural reserve and is rated as one of the most important wildlife refuges in the world. The Island is a secure habitat for various plants and animals – many of them endangered or rare on the mainland – and it is subject to strict quarantine measures to help protect Barrow’s natural fauna and biodiversity from the introduction or proliferation of non-native species.

Chevron required specialist solutions: Environmental Acoustic Recognition Sensors (EARS) and Acquisition for Wildlife Surveillance (PAWS). These critical solutions support the quarantine surveillance program on Barrow Island and consist of field detectors and base stations linked to listening sensors and cloud-hosted machine learning capabilities to detect non-native species.

Project included:

  • Hosting of Chevron’s EARS and PAWS Portal and associated data
  • Management of the infrastructure
  • Application maintenance and support
  • Ongoing optimisation of the machine learning algorithms
  • Support of the EARS and PAWS sensors and base stations

"The fact that a major oil field has operated so successfully on a major Class A Nature Reserve demonstrates that industry and the environment can coexist given proper management."

Dr. Harry Butler, AO CBE / Environmentalist and Conservationist (1930-2015)

A true partnership in innovation

Having undertaken hundreds of software development, data analytics, hosting and support projects before, SRA was uniquely positioned to provide the services and chosen by Chevron to look after the EARS and PAWS systems.

After a comprehensive transition-in period, Chevron and SRA commenced the partnership, including:

  • Technical architecture
  • Software development and enhancements
  • Infrastructure hosting and operations
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Stakeholder management
  • Data Analytics
  • Machine learning optimisation

Did you know?
On Barrow Island there are almost 400 species of plants, 13 terrestrial native mammal species, more than 110 bird species, 44 terrestrial reptile species, almost 4,000 species of terrestrial invertebrates, and 59 species of subterranean fauna. Our environmental specialists work hard to ensure these species thrive alongside our operations.

Chevron / Managing our environmental footprint

Ongoing best practice

The services continue today, provided by SRA’s Australian-based Service Desk and Data teams, whose processes and methodologies are aligned to ITIL and PRINCE2, meaning Chevron and Barrow Island are in good hands.