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Incident & Crisis Management

Digitalizing international incident response training at Shell


Background: As an international energy company with global operations in over 70 countries, Shell must always be prepared to respond to incidents. To be best-in-class at this, they identified a need for a digital exercise management tool that would provide them with the structure and intelligence to constantly improve.

Challenge: Help Shell to be better prepared for larger-scale, Tier-3 incidents that require an international response team, such as an oil spill.

Solution: The Exonaut Resilience platform for training and exercises was configured and deployed company-wide in a matter of weeks. A support contract included specialist technical support from 4C training experts during international exercises.

Benefits: Structured and realistic exercises are planned, run and analysed from one tool. Improvement areas are easily identified and trained to increase response capabilities and meet regulatory standards. Training is more effective and costs are reduced.

Emergency incident response training

Emergency incident response training is business critical in the oil and gas industry. When incidents escalate and a local team requires international support, it’s vital that those involved have trained together effectively under realistic circumstances for different potential scenarios and outcomes.

Until recently, members of Shell’s Oil Spill Expertise Centre were utilising the likes of spreadsheets when planning exercises and pen and paper when recording training observations. The decision was taken to switch to a dedicated digital training tool that would provide a more structured approach to training and capability development based on data-driven insights. The system had to be secure, intuitive, cloud-based, and support users on multiple devices. That tool is Exonaut by 4C, which is used by armed forces to train effectively, and national/international organisations and enterprises to prepare, respond and recover from major operational disruptions.

“Thanks to our close collaboration, we had the platform up and running within a matter of weeks. This was the perfect way to introduce the tool to the team, train stakeholders in how to use it, and fine-tune it to meet requirements.”

Josh Rice, 4C Senior Project & Delivery Manager

“Following procurement, we had a very tight deadline to configure and deploy the Exonaut Resilience software to meet Shell’s training needs,” says Josh Rice, the 4C Senior Project & Delivery Manager. “But thanks to our close collaboration, we had the platform up and running within a matter of weeks so that it could be deployed to manage a Tier 3 training exercise in Egypt. This was the perfect way to introduce the tool to the team, train stakeholders in how to use it, and fine-tune it to meet requirements. Following the exercise, we were able to complete final configurations to Exonaut for oil and gas training exercises.”

Exonaut’s end-to-end training management tool comes with everything needed to plan and run exercises as well as evaluate response capabilities. The tool’s intuitive design leads users through the planning process to help create a realistic, inclusive and structured exercise. Intuitive dashboards and user interface deliver a user-friendly experience, and, once training is planned and logged into the system, it can easily be utilised for repeat exercises elsewhere in the world. Additionally, participants can attend on-site or remotely, and automated reports can be securely shared across the organisation to specific stakeholders.

According to Chris Wildman, 4C Operations Director, “Exonaut has brought many benefits to Shell’s training, even though it’s newly launched in the organisation. During the planning stage, high-level and fine-grained training plan views have enabled planners to see an exercise in a different context and ensure that all participants are involved throughout training. Also, being able to create many injects in advance and introduce them in real-time, has enabled them to instantly ramp up the training in areas where capabilities need improving the most. And, as all observations are entered directly into Exonaut, stakeholders can view them live or post exercise – together with the analysis reports.”

One key reason for Shell digitalising training management was to bring data-driven intelligence to exercises. This provides the ability to generate reports that show exactly where capability gaps exist, offering major benefits to the Oil Spill Expertise Centre (OSEC). Based on lessons learned, Shell can now develop exercises that focus on lowering training risks. This ensures every exercise delivers measurable value. Reports can also be produced showing that training was designed in line with regulatory processes and that the company has trained to the appropriate standard requirements.


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“Exonaut has multiple login interfaces. It has been integrated into the Shell IT environment, so that approved employees can log in directly from their company laptops and devices. For third parties, such as trainers and regulators, a separate login is available which provides them with a compartmentalised view of the system. Strict authorisation ensures they can only access certain data. The system also has an automated contact system that mails or texts training participants with information about training. This cuts out much of the monotonous admin requirements of exercises,” continues Rice.

As well as providing the Exonaut software, 4C is working with Shell during exercises helping to ensure they run smoothly and that the company gets the most from the software. The exercises can be held at headquarters or different sites around the world, depending on where the need is defined.

As experts in training management, we can bring our knowledge and experience from supporting armed forces and organisations over the past 20 years, to help clients train and reach the best of their capabilities. Additionally, we can ensure that data is fully exploited in Exonaut to ensure there is a continuous cycle of improvement. With clients’ and partners’ domain expertise and our training skills, companies like Shell can achieve a lot in a relatively short space of time, once they go fully digital,” concludes Wildman.


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