Woodsiders in Karratha put emergency response arrangements to the test as they executed the first emergency drill scenario of its kind in the company’s history.
Exercise Break Glass – defined as a full deployment Level 2 practical exercise – challenged response teams from Karratha Gas Plant (KGP) and the Marine function, with its scenario of a loss of containment demanding the highest degree of co-operation and co-ordination. “This is exactly what could be required if a manifold joining an LNG ship, and a loading arm filled with hydrocarbons, started to leak,” explains emergency management adviser David Howell.
The aim of the exercise was to further develop and refine emergency management and response capabilities across multiple Woodside teams and externally. “In fact, we also engaged the local port authorities, tug boat providers and an LNG ship crew to make it even more realistic,” David notes. And realistic it was, as the day’s events took many “unexpected” turns carefully devised for the “emergency”. The response teams were kept busy dealing not only with the faulty manifold, but also other unexpected tasks like organising musters and evacuations and mobilising ambulances.
Operations superintendent Tim Davies was the Karratha Incident Coordination Centre (KICC) team’s duty manager in the Q3 exercise. “Emergency response teams of all parties were stood up to deal with their respective responsibilities and open communication with stakeholders,” he says. “The KICC’s role was to support the incident controller in the Central Control Room to respond to the emergency on site. “We also coordinated the actions and ensured alignment of other response teams across the Burrup.” Once the situation at the berth was under control, the teams could expand their focus beyond KGP and ensure the safety of surrounding waters. “It was a valuable experience for us all,” says Tim. “The exercise tested our communication, resilience and emergency response capabilities.
“And it gave us an opportunity to develop relationships with internal teams and external agencies. “We will be able to leverage the learnings and tangible connections we made in the future.”
Pilot loading master Glenn Attrill agrees Break Glass was a great opportunity to build emergency response capabilities, internally and externally. “It helped us assess our own Marine emergency response plans (ERPs) and gain further insight into the pressures each team members may need to handle in a real emergency. “But we also tested other important aspects of ERPs like our ability to communicate and collaborate under pressure with the port authority, the onshore plant and other teams.”
Emergency and crisis management manager Ray Butler rates Break Glass a success. And apart from satisfying Woodside, external authorities and agencies also were pleased with the way it was conducted. “Representatives of Government departments and authorities observed the exercise,” Ray says. “We received a lot of positive feedback at the end of the day. “In particular, our pro-active approach to marine emergency preparedness was recognised.” But there is much more to prepare for, and embedding insights is also part of the learning process. “We need to keep building the knowledge of ERPs and test our teams’ capabilities across Woodside so we can be confident of the company’s ability to respond to any hazard in any location,” Ray says. “Break Glass showed everyone the importance of building robust relationships with other teams and organisations. “It’s important to know each other’s areas and capabilities so we can collaborate more effectively in an emergency. This type of activity enhances resilience at the local level.”
Building on the lessons learnt is already underway, with more practice scenarios prepared for 2017.
Trunkline Q4 2016