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Oil & Gas Business Continuity & Emergency Management

By GeoConnexion - 25th September 2013 - 14:24

Interview with Jillian M. Robles, MBA, CEM, Supervisor, Incident Management, Business Continuity Program at Devon Energy on key topics to be discussed at the upcoming marcus evans Oil & Gas Business Continuity & Emergency Management Conference, December 3-5, 2013 in Houston, TX.

You will be presenting on incorporating the ICS into private industry practices – how has Devon Energy turned the incident management program into a company best practice?

JR: Devon Energy implemented an all-hazards, comprehensive and capabilities- based training and exercise program that focuses on the use of the Incident Command System for incident response. This has proven to be a best practice in the company as it has facilitated both large and small incident response in an effective and efficient manner, thus ensuring continuity of operations and minimizing overall impact to the company’s bottom line.

What are the key elements to improving emergency response in private sector response operations? And what approach do you recommend to take to create private-public sector relationships?

JR: Key elements to improving emergency response in the private sector include understanding the importance of a coordinated approach, an understanding of authority and responsibilities, and relationships with the public sector responders, regulators, and officials. One of the most effective ways to build private-public sector relationships is to invite public sector partners to trainings, exercises, and other functions that demonstrate teamwork. It has been said a million times – ‘the time to exchange business cards is not during an incident.’ Private sector should know who their public sector partners are in advance and both groups should understand capabilities and expectations on both sides of the response before the incident occurs.

How has Devon Energy built a strong training, exercise and evaluation program that is competency-based? What does the process look like (i.e. action steps taken to begin and thoroughly execute it)?

JR: Devon Energy has built a strong training, exercise, and evaluation program that is all-hazards and competency-based by implementing the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) into its Business Continuity Program. This program management tool allows Devon to use fundamental principles for both the management of an exercise program and the execution of individual exercises thus allowing the company to effectively examine its capabilities. This process begins with a planning workshop incorporating hazard vulnerability assessments, regulatory requirements, areas for improvement and/or accreditation standards to identify training and exercise priorities for the year. Once priorities are developed and plan established for exercising the priorities, appropriate resources may be aligned (budget, staffing, etc.) to support the design, development and execution of the exercise. It is important that evaluation planning begin at the onset of the exercise planning process and continue through the development of an After Action Report and Improvement Plan. This plan is then implemented to update plans, policies, and procedures or take any additional action needed to improve a tested activity. This fuels the cycle to continue and move into another phase of planning.

About Jillian M. Robles, MBA, CEM

Jillian Robles is the Supervisor of Business Continuity at Devon Energy’s headquarters in Oklahoma City managing the Incident Management Team program for corporate and field level operations across the United States. In her role at Devon, she has facilitated and supported numerous responses to include a severe well control incident and a direct tornado hit to a gas plant.

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