As hurricane season begins, safety remains a top priority for Shell. Leading up to and throughout the season, Shell's preparation efforts are focused on three areas: personnel safety, protection of the environment and minimizing the impact on production and supply. Shell's approach to hurricane management includes early detection, tracking, and timely preparation.
"Shell has many years of experience in preparing for storms in the Gulf of Mexico. We monitor every tropical development that may potentially impact the United States and initiate preparation and recovery plans accordingly," said Tom Smith, President, Shell Oil Products US.
The Shell Hurricane Incident Command team (HIC) is charged with managing oncoming storms. Members of the team represent all of the various support functions and operational preparedness functions that come into play when handling a hurricane evacuation and redeployment. This group of individuals is designated far in advance of June 1, with continuity from year to year. The HIC team meets regularly before hurricane season, and more frequently during the season, in response to specific hurricane threats to continuously assess the situation and potential impact as well as to put appropriate preparation and response procedures into action. As part of ongoing preparation and planning, the HIC team conducts evacuation table-top drills in order to prepare personnel, and identify and correct any inefficiencies before there is need for an actual evacuation.
"Our hurricane plan has very specific instructions for producing and drilling locations, describing how to shut operations down safely and leave structures in a state that can weather the storm before we leave," explained John Hollowell, Executive Vice-President, Deep Water, Shell Upstream Americas.
Shell implements a phased approach to hurricane preparation and response for its offshore Gulf of Mexico facilities and onshore refineries and chemical plants. A general overview of Shell's hurricane procedures begins with ongoing pre-season planning activities (Phase I). Once a tropical system develops, Shell makes an assessment of projects and personnel and, if necessary, evacuates non-essential personnel (Phase II). When dangerous conditions are anticipated within 72 hours, Shell escalates evacuations and begins to shut-in production at offshore facilities and shutdown facilities onshore (Phase III). Once a hurricane's arrival is imminent and facilities are secure, Shell evacuates the remaining crews offshore and onshore (Phase IV). Once a storm has passed, damage assessments are made and, when facilities are deemed safe, crews begin to restart production and the HIC team conducts a review to identify process effectiveness and opportunity for improvement (Phase V).
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