Deepwater Horizon/Macondo explosion impact

20 April 2010 – more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled, 11 people died and 87 days of frustrating failures followed. It was the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

What has changed in the five years since the explosion? The oil and gas industry has conducted sweeping studies of lessons learned, government oversight and regulations have intensified, and technology has improved.

But there is a new area emerging as a promising method for preventing and addressing spills and other disasters: Simulation training, similar to that used by the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) to prepare soldiers for the uncertainties of battle.

Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS), a provider of learning solutions and services to the DoD, is one of the companies that oil and gas companies are looking to for innovative preparedness solutions. ECS has developed a training tool called Crisis Response Simulation (CRS), which integrates cutting-edge technology with behavioural learning psychology. The web-based program places individuals, or entire organisations into realistic and engaging scenarios. As trainees work to alleviate progressive threats in simulated scenarios, the Crisis Response Simulation platform responds by delivering real-world outcomes that parallel the trainees’ actions.

Any scenario can be modelled, including the one that led up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The Crisis Response Simulation platform was initially developed for the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It has given these organisations the ability to train hundreds of people in well-established, effective protocol, while also allowing modifications based on the country and situation where workers are located.

ECS is currently working with six top Fortune 250 companies to initiate use of Crisis Response Simulation in energy environments that replicate offshore, onshore, upstream, mid-stream and down-stream drilling in and outside of the United States.

Joe O’Connell, vice president of business development for ECS, said, “Each of the companies with whom we are working has experienced the value proposition of leveraging this CRS platform. The companies’ emergency response teams have really seen the cost savings, and benefit from the ability to train hundreds of scenario participants all around the world.”

High-tech simulation has become increasingly popular to train young, digitally-savvy work forces.

ECS will be demonstrating the Crisis Response Simulation at the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, 4-7 May.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

Published on 05/05/2015

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