In April 2010, when an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform triggered the world's largest accidental oil spill, all eyes turned to the Gulf of Mexico and the unfolding tragedy. In his quickly appointed role as National Incident Commander (NIC), United States Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was faced with an extraordinary task: deliver the US Government's response to this unprecedented and developing crisis.
Many consider Allen to have been instrumental in the successful response operations; however, not all leaders have the skills and mindset to cope with such a unique and challenging situation. This article explores the science behind leadership development and the mindset and skillset that Allen and others require in such complex scenarios. We also touch on how leaders should develop and nurture both mindset and skillset.
Authors: Dean Wasche and Andrew Couch
Pipelines - End of the line or a pipe dream
The world has long relied on a vast network of pipelines to move oil and gas safely. Spanning hundreds or thousands of kilometres, pipelines are recognised as the most cost-effective way of transporting crude and refined products from well to marketplace.
The drive to decarbonise will bring new fuel types and a different set of challenges for pipeline engineers in the coming years, but the phased transition to greener energy means oil and gas infrastructure will remain vital across the short to medium-term. But, what will the long-term future look like? Against a backdrop of growing public scrutiny of the environmental impact and viability of new projects, we have to ask: Is this the end of the line for pipelines?
Author: Nick Dyer
The topic of Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (LSFO) was thrust into the spotlight in July 2020 when the MV Wakashio vessel ran aground in Mauritius.
At the time journalists noted that this fuel is relatively new to the market, some referring to it as a ‘Frankenstein fuel’ and so in this article, we look at what we know collectively about LSFOs within the oil spill response industry, and what responders need to be aware of when potentially dealing with future LSFO incidents.
Author: Andy Nicoll
Thoughts on Balongan refinery incident
We reflect on how we think the company might structure itself for this incident and consider some critical response actions, drawing upon a previous case study. We question whether this is an incident or a crisis before discussing the company’s possible approach to probable medium/ long term issues.
At the time of writing this article, the author has had no contact with the refinery or operating company. The thoughts given below are our expert opinion and purely hypothetical on what could be happening rather than stated facts.
Author: Lee Barber
Like many sectors, the oil and gas industry is still weathering the storm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Compounding the issue, businesses across upstream, midstream, and downstream are in a state of broader transition, responding to the global shift to renewable energy and facing an increasing need to address carbon neutrality expectations.
This ongoing trend for cost-cutting raises questions around unintended consequences and the potential to impact how businesses maintain agility, operational performance, and preparedness standards with a reduced workforce and lower investment levels.
Author: Emma Smillie
Can organisations confidently and successfully protect their reputation in the event of a crisis?
Or does commitment to moral corporate values and standards provide the best defence and opportunity of avoiding long-term reputational damage?
There are complex challenges when preparing for and handling reputational risk. The cadence of protecting a brand and its image plays a different beat than conventional emergency response.
Author: Marcus Russell
Gender plays a significant role in a leader’s approach but does that mean that one gender is better at leading in a crisis?
During a crisis, a leader should stand back, take an overview and delegate, communicate vision and priorities to team members, promote team spirit and information sharing, consider long-term resource requirements, and challenge assumptions.
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic and the subject of effective leadership – and the value of empathy – have been thrust back into the spotlight on a global scale.
Author: Rosie Buse
Are crisis planners confident that they're equipped for the next significant challenge?
2020 was undoubtedly an extraordinary year, with each of us facing new and unique challenges.
There were well-documented failings in the global response at both an organisational and national level and leaders must, therefore, ask whether their worst-case scenario (WCS) planning and preparedness were adequate for this crisis or would be for the next.
Author: Rosie Buse
Can this pandemic be used as a catalyst to strengthen the implementation of Tiered Preparedness and Response?
As England settles into its second national lockdown, other countries also continue to work to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We must embrace the ethos of continuous improvement to learn from the challenges of COVID-19, not to tear up the old, but to find ways of evolving to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Author: Paul Foley
While the Covid-19 pandemic may not directly cause oil spills, it is having a negative impact not only on the likelihood but also the consequences should one occur.
There is a myriad of factors to consider when coordinating a responder-dependent response during a pandemic.
With any response, technology and politics can overcome many obstacles. Ultimately success, however it is measured, comes down to people: individuals who understand the risks, are well cared for both physically and mentally, and are well supported to make a bad situation better than it otherwise would be.
Author: Andy Nicoll
The Shipping Industry has gone beyond ‘Black Swans’ and is now on the lookout for ‘Grey Rhinos’ – should you be too?
No business operates in a vacuum. Instead, we are all part of a complex and competitive ecosystem – beholden to market dynamics and shifts in public attitudes that are largely beyond our control.
The shipping industry is not exempt from these external forces and must constantly adapt; whether to new regulatory requirements or other, more singular and individual levers.
Author: James Tan
Remote, Low Carbon, Efficient. Responding to oil spills in a post pandemic virtual world.
The perceived wisdom is that we cannot make the right decisions without boots on the ground.
Around the world corporations and individuals are being challenged to reduce their carbon footprint and international air travel is a key focus.
If we can get just four things right, then remote incident management could become a reality.
Authors: Rob James, Daniel White
Covid-19, Climate Change and Remote Locations: Challenging Times for Oil Spill Prevention and Response
Events such as the recent spill in Norilsk, Russia have highlighted that some organisations are missing key risks when designing systems to prevent and respond to oil spills. It is incumbent on all operators to ensure they continuously review their risk profile and consider changing or emerging risks such as climate change and the current pandemic, particularly in remote locations where any response is inevitably complex.
How could more extensive preparedness enable companies to imagine the unimaginable caused by unprecedented climate change?
Authors: Fiona Carson, Marcus Russell