Angola - Ensuring safety and controlling environmental impacts
Forests and Climate - Committed to a beneficial environment for humans
Floating boom positioned in order hydrocarbons on the sea surface.
In November 2013, Total took part in a safety and environmental protection exercise in Angola, called “Lula”. The aim was to assess its capacity to respond to hydrocarbon leakage in a deep offshore well. Manuel Xavier Jr., National Director of Safety and the Environment at the Ministry of Oil, explains what is at stake.
We strongly encourage oil companies to organize safety exercises in the country to test their capacity to react effectively when an incident occurs. The “Lula” exercise carried out with Total involved a simulation of the most serious accident possible: an explosion followed by very significant underwater leakage at a depth of 1,000 meters. Once we had analyzed the situation, we concluded that in a situation of this kind it would be essential to trigger the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, which allows us not only to mobilize our national resources but also seek international assistance. The exercise gave us the opportunity to test our crisis unit, which has to be activated within 30 minutes of notification of a major incident, for the first time.
Our aim was to assess our capacity for coordination, organization and control in the context of a large-scale incident. I was very happy with the results of the exercise; the issues we faced undoubtedly required more involvement from us than from Total and we demonstrated our responsiveness by mobilizing authorities as varied as the Ministries of the Environment, Transport, the Interior, Finance, National Defense and Agriculture. Above all, it was a very important exercise, which helped us to identify our strengths and weaknesses.
We are aiming to organize exercises of this kind at least twice a year, involving not only Total, which is one of the most responsible businesses in this respect, but also other firms, because it is important to be able to offer mutual assistance in the case of a major incident.