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Emergency preparedness and response

The ability to respond to emergencies promptly is critical, and we conduct extensive training and drills to prepare for such situations.

At ExxonMobil, we believe effective emergency preparedness requires competent response teams. To that end, we establish strategic emergency support groups (ESGs) around the world to develop and practice emergency response strategies and assist field responders. We routinely train ESG members, a wide variety of ExxonMobil employees, on a range of possible scenarios, including simulated spills, fires, explosions, natural disasters and security incidents. In 2015, 550 employees participated in 35 ESG training sessions.

ExxonMobil takes a disciplined and structured “command and control” approach to emergency preparedness that is based on clear communication. Regardless of the size of an event, each ExxonMobil facility and business unit has access to a wide array of trained responders, including our regional response teams (RRTs), which provide rapid tactical support when needed. Our three RRTs — North America; Europe, Africa and Middle East; and Asia Pacific — address tactical issues associated with the field response. The RRTs comprise approximately 500 ExxonMobil personnel trained in one consistent management system with common roles and responsibilities. In total, the RRTs completed four training exercises in 2015, with approximately 400 ExxonMobil participants.

Photo — In 2015, regional response team members in Australia pilot the incident command system and common operating picture.

In May 2015, the North America RRT held a two-day exercise in Seattle, Washington, for ExxonMobil affiliate SeaRiver Maritime. As part of the exercise, participants responded to a simulated release of 80,000 barrels of oil from a marine vessel. One key objective of the exercise included educating participants on the value and use of a net environmental benefit analysis to mitigate impacts from a crude oil release. Additionally, in October 2015, ExxonMobil executed an oil spill response deployment exercise at our Baytown complex in Texas. The exercise was intended to meet regulatory requirements as well as demonstrate our North America RRT’s response readiness abilities. In total, more than 120 personnel were involved in the training event, including volunteers from our refining and supply, midstream, chemical and production operations.

  • Lisa VanderLaan

    Safety, security, health and environment support manager
    "The quality of the exercise and high degree of professionalism by all involved is a clear demonstration of ExxonMobil's commitment to emergency preparedness and response. I was also very encouraged to see such a strong partnership with the regulatory agencies that participated."

We continually look for innovative ways to provide emergency preparedness and response training in a safe and controlled environment. For example, we are exploring the use of immersive 3-D simulator technology for conducting emergency response training for plant operators. This technology uses ultra-realistic virtual reality operating conditions to create lifelike training scenarios. We are currently testing a full-scale simulator of an actual gas processing facility in Qatar to provide realistic training on more than 300 interactive control devices in six gas processing units.

Up Close: Expanding emergency preparedness and response capabilities

ExxonMobil is committed to improving our emergency preparedness by enhancing our response programs, processes and training offerings. In 2015, the emergency preparedness and response center of excellence supported ExxonMobil Upstream affiliates in implementing a global incident command system (ICS). By implementing this system globally, ExxonMobil can utilize common response processes that allow personnel from different affiliates to easily assist one another if needed. The ExxonMobil RRTs also use ICS, which allows them to seamlessly integrate into affiliate teams. Our use of ICS is aligned with the National Incident Management System and allows us to respond in a seamless fashion with federal, state, local and tribal responders in the United States and abroad.

In addition to ICS, we are rolling out a common operating picture (COP). COP is a computing platform based on geographic information system (GIS) technology that provides a single source of data and information to improve situational awareness and accelerates decision-making for emergency response or project planning activities. The GIS data and information can be from ExxonMobil sources as well as publicly available information to depict “big picture" images of places and situations. Both ICS and COP have been successfully implemented in the United States, with an emphasis on the Gulf of Mexico, as well as piloted internationally during Upstream exercises in Australia, Indonesia and Russia. We have also rolled out ICS to our operations in Angola, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia and Norway.