What we’ve seen in terms of global trends in oil spill response is a focus on three key areas: tiered preparedness and response; Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA), and its SIMA (Spill Impact Mitigation Assessment) methodology; as well as stakeholder engagement. These areas all predominately focus on the pre-spill management activities and are designed to increase mitigation to stop a spill occurring, and to minimise the impact should one occur.
On the topic of tiered preparedness and response, the onus is on the operators to ensure they are well-prepared for every possible scenario and that they are scaling their response capabilities to a proportionate level for their current activity. We support them throughout this process, offering expert personnel, equipment, training, detailed contingency planning and working with regulators, amongst many other items.
With NEBA, and the SIMA methodology, you’re looking at how to select the best response strategy and what combination of response techniques you would look to utilise based on the incident specifics. Effectively, it’s about ensuring a well-documented and agreed response framework is implemented, which follows the process steps identified in international good practice.
The third development relates to stakeholder engagement and is incredibly important. This is about us working with regulators, national and local government stakeholders and other relevant bodies to make sure that recommended response techniques are already approved for use prior to a spill occurring, rather than us having to spend additional time racing to get permission after the incident has taken place.
When it comes to post-spill management techniques, we’re definitely seeing a greater adoption of the ‘Incident Management System’ or similar methodologies, which evolved off the back of the US’ ‘Incident Command Structure’. As a result, oil companies, regulators, and oil spill response organisations, such as OSRL, can increasingly work to a common structure and seamlessly integrate the required processes.