NJ Resources, Inc. (NJR) conducted a large, Tier 3 exercise in the Philippines in June of 2018.  The event ran for 4 days with 1 day of training and 3 days of exercising the first 48 hours of a response.  The exercise had 228 participants with the majority in the Incident Command Post and about a dozen additional responders in a remote Forward Operating Base.

The exercise was based on a series of events caused by an earthquake including a hydrogen fire in a processing unit, a collapsed tank roof, and a ruptured sub-sea pipeline causing a 3,000 m3 / 6,290 barrels of high H2S crude release in to the marine environment.  The scenario challenged the responders they had to prioritize which incident to address first, how to do so safely, how to account for all refinery workers, and how to manage communications with limited internet and cellphone coverage.   Additional challenges were caused by infrastructure damage outside the refinery.

Successful incident management hinges on both internal and external communications.  In this exercise, corporate responders, with their government partners formed a true, fully integrated Unified, not Coordinated, Command.  This was a first for this client outside the United States.  The Philippine Coast Guard was fully integrated and actively participated in the entire planning process.  They also contributed response equipment to augment that provided by the refinery, a local OSRO, and OSRL.

This experience solidified our client’s partnership with the response agencies of the Philippines and established critical relationships needed for continuous improvement in the region.