Newsline June 2023
Newsline June 2023
The UK provided the largest single contingent of participants (25 out of 238 attendees) in the EAME and AP team’s first major exercise of 2023, which took place in May in Angola. Named ‘Giant Black Sable’ (after Angola’s national symbol – an antelope), the exercise’s aim was to demonstrate the RRT’s ability to handle a response in support of an upstream business unit.
This scenario involved a major well release in Esso Angola’s Block 15. Exercise participants received wide-ranging training on well capping and subsea well intervention before the exercise began, which tested the ability of Esso Angola and the RRT to respond to a Tier 3 emergency.
The exercise presented one of the largest language challenges the RRT has ever faced in an exercise, as the language of operation in Angola is Portuguese, so a number of translators supported the response effort!
Featuring a mix of in-person response in Angola and hub participation in Porto, Portugal, Exercise Giant Black Sable included aerial surveillance, and shoreline and wildlife recovery simulation, with support from the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF), an official International Maritime Organization (IMO) initiative sponsored by the United Nations.
Ahead of the exercise, members of the RRT were provided with cultural familiarisation sessions to help them interact professionally and respectfully with colleagues from other cultures and external international NGOs, ministries and military organisations. The training helped participating RRT members to build stronger bonds with our partners and reduced the potential for conflict under pressure. This type of additional training is one of the many benefits of volunteering for the RRT network!
Highlights of Exercise Giant Black Sable:
Leatherhead-based Travis Hansen, who is Regional Response Team Coordinator for EAME / AP, said: “It was fantastic to exercise face-to-face with our colleagues in Angola in the EAME RRT’s first deepsea well scenario. We involved other Angolan operators, and several Asia Pacific and Americas’ RRT members to strengthen what became a global response to an Esso Exploration Angola (Block 15) Limited (EEAL) scenario. Even though we were split over two locations, a constant theme that we have heard is the value of bringing the team together to build our skills, establish relationships and to maintain the incredible RRT culture.”
Melissa Bond, Angola Lead Country Manager, said: “We appreciate the effort and commitment of everyone who came together during the week to exercise the oil spill contingency plan and strengthen our relationship with the Angolan government, ACEPA (operator industry group) and with the Regional Response Team. I know that ExxonMobil Angola is ready to respond.”