Oil pollution emergency plans - a new format


Oil pollution emergency plans - a new format



Petrofac Training Services has developed unique, operationally oriented, Oil Pollution Emergency Plans (OPEPs) that meet Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) regulatory requirements.

An OPEP is required to demonstrate an operator’s response capability for oil spills originating from all production, drilling and well intervention operations.

The Petrofac OPEP template is distinctive in that it has been specifically tailored as an operational response document. This new format has historically not been associated with such documents. The plans focus on up-front, essential response information and provide enhanced checklists for both offshore and onshore personnel, providing for an effective well structured response to an incident.

Traditionally, OPEPs were lengthy, routine documents seen as more of a “tick-box” requirement enabling offshore operators to work in the UKCS. However, the topic of oil spills and OPEPs is one which has moved to the forefront of people’s minds of late following recent events such as the Macondo spill in the Gulf of Mexico and closer to home, the Gannet Alpha pipeline spill. Common perception of the oil and gas industry can at times be quite delicate. This is further enhanced with the development in deepwater drilling in UK waters i.e. West of Shetland.

This in turn has resulted in massive change coming about within the UKCS with regard to changes in legislation and new OPEP requirements. Many operators have been finding that complying with new DECC guidance post-Macondo has been challenging due to the frequent amendments to current requirements.

One of our unique selling points is our approach to working closely with both our clients and DECC. We aim to provide a flexible service to meet client requirements, whilst ensuring the framework of the UK regulatory regime is maintained. Our strong relationship with the UK regulators allows for us to manage all aspects of plan development, compilation, distribution and the OPEP approval process.

We have a team of five personnel specifically dedicated to the compilation of oil spill response planning, which also includes developing and running oil spill response related exercises. Our current client base includes: BP, Talisman, Marathon, CNR, BG, Fairfield, Enquest and Nexen.

Before approved plans are rolled out, offshore and onshore personnel are offered a half-day OPEP familiarisation training session. These courses help to familiarise users with the format, content and mechanisms of the new documents in order to ensure competence.

Oil Spill Response courses also provided are:

  • DECC Level 2 Corporate Manager (UK) Oil Spill Response Training – this accredited course aligns with DECC corporate manager training requirements. It ensures that delegates understand the principles of oil spill response pertinent to their operating level. This prepares personnel to be able to contribute effectively to the management of the response.
  • DECC Level 3 Onshore Emergency Responder Oil Spill Response Training – an accredited course that aligns with DECC oil spill response training guidelines. It ensures that environmental response personnel understand and are capable of managing and achieving the response arrangements detailed in the OPEP.