New Collaborative opportunities for oil spill preparedness and response

Article published in the Regulator | Issue 2: 2016 

NOPSEMA’s Head of Environment Division, Mr Cameron Grebe, recently highlighted the importance for industry to maintain its focus on adequate oil spill preparedness and response capacity in a presentation at Australia’s premier oil spill conference (Spillcon). This is made all the more important as time from the last major incident passes and the industry responds to economic pressures.

Mr Grebe’s presentation stressed the importance of titleholders acknowledging worst case scenarios and focusing on the consequences rather than the likely probabilities when contingency planning. Identifying and fixing barriers to a timely response and considering the independence, limitations and effectiveness of oil spill response controls were also highlighted.

NOPSEMA continues to work with industry on the areas highlighted by Mr Grebe through participation in governmentindustry forums and through compliance activities such as targeted inspections. Titleholders should be aware that NOPSEMA’s environmental inspection program will continue to target whether oil spill response capabilities are commensurate to risk, appropriately tested, and provide for a timely and effective oil spill response.

Mr Grebe also noted the importance of industry sharing their experiences and expanding the use of collaborative approaches to oil spill response resources to increase capabilities while making them more cost effective overall. This note reflected a common theme observed through the conference with presenters from all parts of the sector reflecting the need for industry to seek and implement opportunities to ‘do more with less’ through collaboration and cooperation in the area of oil spill preparedness and response.

NOPSEMA supports and encourages collaborative initiatives to reduce costs provided oil spill preparedness and response capacity is maintained or improved as a result. For this improvement to be achieved it is important that there are open discussions about opportunities and early regulatory input to ensure that proposed actions provide the desired capacity and regulatory compliance impact.