Taking on the Challenge: EMSI Forms a Strategic Partnership with Norwegian-Based Proactima

Proactima is a Norwegian company specializing in risk management, national security, and health, safety, and environmental (HSE) management. Founded in 2003, Proactima has completed a number of projects in the oil and gas, transport, maritime, public, banking, and insurance sectors. With complimentary capabilities and similar philosophies, EMSI and Proactima have partnered to deliver ICS training and other incident management related services to Proactima’s European client base. Together, EMSI and Proactima constitute a formidable and well-rounded team that can deliver outstanding emergency preparedness and response oriented services and solutions. For more on Proactima, please visit their website: http://www.proactima.no/en/

Petroleum activities in the High North represent new challenges, particularly with respect to emergency preparedness capacities. According to experts, the main challenge is the lack of good leadership and coordination.

Petroleum operations in the High North are not new, but given the possibilities for activity in new areas further from land, the industry is seeking new knowledge about new and special HSE challenges faced in the north.

In 2010, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association began taking stock of new challenges. The member companies in the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, advocacy groups, employers’ organizations, trade union federations, and authorities took part in the work that culminated in the report, “HMS-utfordringer i nordområdene” (“HSE Challenges in the High North”).

New requirements and expectations

The report summarizes a range of HSE issues and recommendations related to petroleum activities in the north, including emergency preparedness, which is emphasized as a main challenge.

“The challenges we face in petroleum activities in the north are different from those we have seen in the past. We need new ways of thinking about them, and of thinking about leadership and coordination of emergency preparedness,” says Trygve Eeg Tunes, a preparedness advisor in Proactima.

Eeg Tunes believes the industry must realize that preparedness in the north is more complex than in the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea.

“The greater distances to resources in the High North pose challenges for fast, effective responses to incidents. Great distances also complicate information access, which in turn negatively impacts the basis for taking decisions.

Climate conditions cause technological challenges that require specialized technology and skills adapted to the High North. When a disaster like a capsizing or blowout is factored in, the first preparedness resources that are utilized will not have the capacity and endurance needed. A broad collective effort from both national and international resources is necessary,” Eeg Tunes explains.

A US solution

Along with his Proactima colleague, Jonas Eriksen, Eeg Tunes has worked to adapt tools and methods for traditional preparedness leadership to the risk picture for High North petroleum activities.

At an early stage in this work, Proactima got in contact with the American firm EMSI.

As Jonas Eriksen explains, “The experiences from Deepwater Horizon, as well as the IOGP’s recommendation to use Incident Command System (ICS), led us to seek a partnership with an acknowledged ICS specialist. We investigated several different actors, and EMSI was especially suited to the Scandinavian culture and Proactima’s interests, such as practical functionality, simplification and professional integrity. ICS will to a large extent characterize the approach to handling more complex and long-term situations, and this includes the High North.”

EMSI is recognized as “a premier all-hazards, full-service, multi-discipline incident management and emergency management services and solutions provider. In addition to being a full-service incident management and emergency management company, EMSI is a global leader in the application of the ICS for all-risk, all-hazard, multi-discipline incidents.”

ICS is nothing new: the method was developed in the 70s and is used by many preparedness organizations across the globe. Statoil is among those in Norway who have chosen ICS as the method for handling long-term emergency preparedness situations.

A thoroughly tested concept

EMSI has been a part of the development of ICS from the beginning. What began as a method for handling major forest fires has turned into an international general model that can be used in all types of incident situations.

“A core mission of EMSI is to enhance ICS across the broad spectrum of responders in every organization and level while preparing those responders for an incident,” explains the EMSI Director of Operations, Billy Haley.

EMSI personnel have been involved in the management of nearly every major incident for the last 25 years including:

  • World Trade Center Bombing (1992)
  • Oklahoma City Bombing (1995)
  • 9/11 Terror Attacks (2001)
  • Anthrax at the U.S. Capital (2001)
  • Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster (2003)
  • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005)
  • Deepwater Horizon (2010)
  • Japan Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster (2011)
  • Hurricane Sandy (2012).

Investigation reports in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill highlighted three observations related to the emergency preparedness leadership:

(a) a wide range of actors required a unified coordination of efforts early on

(b) strong political engagement and pressure from the public at large presented significant information and communication challenges, and

(c) the nature of the incident required the early support of technical and scientific expertise.

“The main findings will be even more significant for Norway, where we lack one common concept for emergency preparedness organizing in the oil industry. In addition, experiences from large, joint exercises that are based on the ICS leadership structure are extremely limited. The exercises that have been carried out have usually not consistently used a collective leadership, with the exception of for instance the Gemini exercise, which itself does not involve the Norwegian Coastal Administration and other central actors in a disaster,” explains Eeg Tunes.

ICS is strengthening preparedness in the north

Scope, duration and complexity dictate that the preparedness organization leading and coordinating the efforts must be harmonized in advance, but there have been all too few such exercises.

In order for private resources, operators and public resources to lay the best groundwork for an effective cooperation and response, the organization, response and planning must follow the ICS structure.

“To put it simply, we must connect Duplos with Duplos, not Duplos with Legos, in order to build a robust structure in the north,” says Eeg Tunes, who believes a new industry standard needs to be considered.

“One part of the solution might be to introduce a new industrial standard for preparedness leadership nationally, not just in the High North. We are very familiar with the initiatives that have been adopted among the larger operators through a forum devoted to ICS, and the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (NOFO) is now training itself in ICS with support from EMSI.”

Spearheading ICS in Scandinavia

EMSI and Proactima have signed a partnership agreement and are working together to develop and adapt ICS to Nordic conditions. EMSI’s approach to ICS covers more than oil spills, and can be used in every type of accident and disaster—regardless of duration or scope. Thus, users need not be trained in two systems (the “classic Norwegian” system and ICS). This will save both time and money devoted to emergency preparedness.

“Our partnership with EMSI allows us to offer a professionally solid and tested training system to introduce and develop ICS for the preparedness organizations of clients across Scandinavia. Our shared, experienced instructors can also be offered as advisors in real situations, just as EMSI performed in the Macondo incident, for example. Together, we look forward to being a positive agent for effective and robust preparedness to our clients,” explains Eeg Tunes.

EMSI’s long experience from disasters, combined with its professional depth, has made it a steadfast leader in the development of the discipline. Proactima has always been devoted to development and innovation in the profession, and both parties view their partnership as an opportunity to develop even better solutions for clients.

Contact person Proactima – Trygve Eeg Tunes – 0047 951 30 383

Contact person EMSI – Billy Haley – 540-423-9004

This article was originally published by Proactima and is available at: http://www.proactima.no/en/taking-on-the-challenge/