Due to their unplanned and accidental nature, hydrocarbon spills represent particular challenges in terms of response. This is particularly the case when considering environmental monitoring where programs must be scientifically robust yet still flexible enough to accommodate incidents of various location and scale.
Astron has been providing oil spill contingency planning services to the offshore oil and gas sector since 2012, but recently expanded its capacity for oil spill monitoring standby and response. At the basis of the standby service is an alliance agreement with renowned scientific marine consultant BMT Oceanica and associate relationships with several other technical service providers. Together the group can draw from over 100 competent and trained personnel, with technical experience to deliver all aspects of operational and scientific monitoring services to NOPSEMA requirements.
Since the establishment of the national Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) on 1 January 2012 and as an outcome of the Montara Commission of Inquiry, there is an expectation for oil and gas operators to develop suitable operational and scientific monitoring programs (OSMP). In addition to this, operators must demonstrate adequate capacity to successfully implement their OSMP in the event of a spill.
The OSMP is a key part of an integrated package of environmental management documentation that also includes the Environment Plan (EP) and the Oil Spill Contingency Plan (OSCP). The OSMP is the principle tool for determining the extent, severity and persistence of environmental impacts from an oil spill and can be used to test how effective the oil spill response is being in protecting the environment.
“Responding to an incident can be very resource intensive. It also requires a variety of scientific and technical skills,” explains Astron’s Technical Director Julian Kruger.
“With this in mind, good collaborations and partnerships become critical for the successful implementation of your OSMP.”
Another key to managing the implementation of an OSMP is understanding how to integrate with existing methods of incident response.
“Both Astron and BMT Oceanica employ personnel with accredited Incident Management qualifications. Basically we structure our activities to integrate with client requirements via the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS). The system is very robust,” said Mr Kruger.
In addition to standby services the alliance also helps clients understand and identify their key environmental receptors. This includes assisting them with their monitoring strategies, as well as addressing baseline data requirements through gap analysis and data collection campaigns.
For more information on Astron’s oil spill monitoring and standby services please contact our Oil Spill Response Coordinator, Megan Stalker on (08) 9421 9600.