Playing a vital role in emergency response preparedness

In September, ExxonMobil Australia held an exercise with the ExxonMobil Regional Response Team (RRT) at our Docklands office. More than 65 participants across our different sites came together and tested their knowledge and competency skills for oil spill preparedness over a span of two days

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In September, ExxonMobil Australia held an exercise with the ExxonMobil Regional Response Team (RRT) at our Docklands office. More than 65 participants across our different sites came together and tested their knowledge and competency skills for oil spill preparedness over a span of two days.

The exercise was conducted in the lead up to the Gudgeon & Terakihi Plug and Abandonment Program and was a great opportunity for participants to equip themselves with the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to react confidently in the event of a real emergency.

Participants collaborated with Industry operators and regulators including The Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre (AMOSC), Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), The Response Group (TRG), Department of Transport and Planning and the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA). Together they developed an Incident Action Plan detailing strategies and tactics to tackle the oil spill scenario.

“Having involvement with external parties during the exercise provided a great opportunity to share and learn from each other. This exercise created a collaborative environment that developed shared understanding amongst all parties in the event we have a real incident,” commented Caitlyn Hoggart, Environmental Advisor.

The scenario was based on a loss of well control from Terakihi resulting in an oil spill that had the potential to impact the East Gippsland coastline near Marlo.

An Incident Action Plan was developed including detailed plans for dispersant application to minimise oil reaching the shoreline and protection plans for the Snowy River estuary. The teams also ensured all relevant and impacted stakeholders were kept up to date and provided with consistent information on the progress of their response efforts.  

Prior to the exercise, the Wells team along with a few RRT members had to complete the University of Spill Management – Source Control 3-day training course to increase their knowledge of well source control and understand the resources and arrangements available to ExxonMobil.

They further utilised their knowledge and formed a Source Control Branch to develop plans to mitigate impacts of the release, including sub-sea dispersants and a capping stack, as well as plans to drill a relief well to contain the spill.

“It was impressive to see what the combined capabilities of our local teams, regional response team, local Industry and regulators working together, can achieve,” commented James Buckingham, Offshore Producing Assets Manager.

“It’s important that we practice for these events, ensuring that our people are always one step ahead and prepared in the event of a real emergency,” he concluded.