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OFFEX 2022: Large-scale offshore emergency response exercise

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The evaluation of OFFEX 2022 took place on Thursday, 24 November. OFFEX is a large-scale offshore emergency response exercise held every two years by various parties active in the North Sea. As a joint organiser, Element NL is pleased with how this intensive collaboration increases safety in the North Sea.

The exercise took place in mid-October and involved a scenario in which a ship might collide with an offshore platform. The Coast Guard and operator Dana Petroleum were lead partners during the exercise. The exercise aimed to understand crisis procedures and business processes while working with other parties operating in the North Sea.

Broad group of participants
The evaluation constituted a comprehensive review of cooperation and coordination among the broad group of stakeholders, external and internal communication, and other aspects. Attendees included participants and stakeholders from the Coast Guard, offshore operators Dana Petroleum, TAQA, and Petrogas E&P, industry associations NWEA (wind sector) and Element NL, grid operator Tennet, and government agencies such as the State Supervision of Mines (SSM) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

"Coming together, comprehensively evaluating and collating the lessons learned is extremely valuable after all the efforts that had gone into this large-scale exercise," said Marjolein Oppentocht, who played a key part in organising the exercise and evaluation on behalf of Element NL. "We are therefore pleased that the exercise improves safety in an increasingly crowded North Sea."

Lessons learned and recommendations
Recommendations from the meeting addressed the importance of large-scale exercises but also emphasised the importance of smaller exercises too. Participants reported that they had learned much from preparing for the exercise and sharing experiences in small groups during the evaluation. This and other valuable lessons as well as specific action items will be included in a video being made about OFFEX. 

2023 and 2024
A further exercise will be held again in 2023 addressing an onshore scenario. Another OFFEX will take place next year, organised by one of the members of Element NL.

Update: see the video (with English subtitles) about OFFEX here.

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