Crisis Readiness: The 2018 ARAT Tier 3 Oil Spill Exercise
In June 2018, Tabangao Refinery hosted the first ever Tier 3 Incident Management Exercise held in the Philippines.
The exercise was attended by around 300 participants, led by officials from OSEC ARAT (Oil Spill Expertise Center-Asia, Russia, and Australia Team) and the Philippine Crisis Management Team (CMT), along with representatives from the Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Energy, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region IV-A, as well as the Philippine-based Waterborne Industry Spill Cooperative (WISE).
The exercise simulated a Tier 3 worst-case scenario following an earthquake that resulted in the rupture of a hydrogen pipeline and crude pipeline, also causing a fire at Tabangao Refinery, thus activating Shell’s Global Response Support Network (GRSN). It was a scenario meant to test the response capability of Pilipinas Shell in containing a high- impact spill. It also tested our ability to work together with support teams from other countries, as well as multiple local government agencies.
The contingent from Tabangao Refinery practiced raising the alarm and escalating the information to the CMT. The Country Chairman then deemed the crisis a matter to be tackled locally. The CMT and the Incident Management Team then simulated interface meetings. Working in concert, the Incident Commander along with the various section chiefs—finance, logistics, and HSSE focal points— determined how to best manage the spill. A Communication Support team and Joint Information Center monitored the flow of information, and a mock press conference was also held so the teams could simulate engaging with local officials and other key stakeholders during crisis management.
Overall, the succession of drills and sharing sessions lasted nearly a week. Feedback from participants indicated they had more confidence in their roles and the application of existing emergency plans, given their enhanced competencies in disaster response and crisis management.
“The beauty of having these drills is that in a certain way, you’ve hardwired your brain to think a particular way. You respond semi-automatically, and you know what to do in an actual incident”HSSE Country Manager Oliver L. Ortega.