Security and Crisis Management
In response to the growing uncertainties of the global security environment in recent years, we are continuously reinforcing our overseas security management. We also develop emergency response plans and carry out training exercises to strengthen our readiness to respond to various incidents, such as fires, explosions and oil spills.
Enhancement of Security Management
The Middle East is one of our key regions of operation. In recent years, this region has seen developments that compel us to rethink our traditional position on security, such as rising tensions between Iran and the United States, the change in government in Afghanistan, and missile and drone attacks on the UAE associated with the civil war in Yemen, among others.
Recognizing these changes as security threats, we are stepping up our preparedness for geopolitical risks, including by strengthening our capabilities for analyzing security situations and formulating emergency response plans. In FY2020, we developed an emergency response plan for dealing with security contingencies, and conducted exercises with our overseas offices based on that plan. During the unstable political situation in Kazakhstan in January 2022, we worked to ensure the safety of local employees by utilizing the insights and resources produced by our security-enhancing efforts and by effectively coordinating actions with our local offices.
In addition, we continuously gather and analyze security information on the regions where our employees work, and share that information internally. We also evaluate the threat level of each region and use those assessments as a guide for the issuance of alerts and formulation of policies for employees stationed or traveling to the region. Information on security-related incidents such as rioting, abductions, or political unrest is posted on our intranet to raise awareness of potential threats. In-house seminars and exercises are held to enhance employee understanding and readiness.
Security experts at our headquarters periodically visit the regions where we operate to conduct security reviews. These inspections help us to develop better security policies by providing us with a clearer understanding of each region as a whole, the local operating sites, the routes of travel and accommodation used by employees, and other pertinent information.
We develop security contingency plans and regularly conduct exercises to test the effectiveness of each plan and familiarize employees with its protocols.
Emergency and Crisis Response System
We have developed a system that enables Corporate teams and operator project organizations to cooperate in responding to emergencies. Through opportunities such as emergency response training, we regularly update our crisis response documents and maintain and expand the Crisis Management Team’s facilities and equipment. We are also developing a provisional crisis management team that will take command if the headquarters’ functions are partially disrupted, and strengthening its coordination capacity.
Launched in FY2020 in response to COVID-19, the Corporate Crisis Management Team continued to collaborate with relevant functions in FY2021 to develop actions necessary for preventing infection, sustaining operations through teleworking and other measures, and ensuring the continuity of our critical businesses.
Emergency Response Exercises
Our organizations in Japan and overseas with operational sites conduct emergency training and exercises based on annual HSE plans—both independently and together with our headquarters—in order to continuously improve emergency response capabilities.
As part of this endeavor, we hold proactive joint exercises with teams at newly established businesses and projects to ensure effective, well-coordinated responses to major incidents. In FY2021, joint crisis response exercises were conducted with personnel at a new onshore drilling operation in Abu Dhabi, and at the newly launched Eagle Ford shale oil project in the United States. These trainings provided valuable lessons in emergency responsiveness.
In addition to reinforcing our capabilities to respond to the threat of novel infectious diseases like COVID-19, we have been working to improve our readiness for dealing with other threats that have emerged in recent years, such as the increased severity of natural disasters—as seen in the damage to our gas pipelines caused by Typhoon Hagibis in FY2019—and cyberattacks against the energy industry that might suspend its operations—such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in 2021.
We have been responding to the intensification of natural disasters by making improvements based on reviews of past typhoon damage, and by realigning our action plans with the latest government guidelines. We also continue to recognize the persistent threat of a major earthquake occurring in the Tokyo metropolitan area where our headquarters are located, and annually implement crisis response drills to prepare for that contingency and identify areas for improvement.
As part of our response to the growing risk of cyberattacks, fueled in part by rising international tensions, we conducted an emergency response exercise in March 2022 that simulated a cyberattack against an Ichthys LNG operating site. This drill provided lessons for enhancing our responsiveness to such attacks.
Going forward, we will continue to use the lessons learned from such exercises to guide improvements to existing manuals and strengthen our crisis responsiveness through various measures, including the deployment of new resources and equipment.
Response to Blowouts and Oil Spill Incident
We need to be prepared not only for large-scale blowouts and oil spills at oil and gas development sites, but also for frequent small-scale spills from tanks and pipelines at production facilities, which may affect the local community’s safety, health, and businesses.
Taking lessons from incidents experienced by other companies, we are enhancing incident management systems for our wells, pipelines, plants and other assets in all aspects of incident prevention, containment, and response. We have developed rules and procedures for consistent management aimed at preventing incidents. To prepare against the malfunctioning of a subsea blowout preventer in offshore drilling, we maintain a contract with Wild Well Control, Inc., a supplier of capping equipment. We also have a contract with Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL)—the world’s largest provider of oil spill response services—to establish a system for responding to a large-scale oil spill, and to constantly acquire new knowledge of oil spill response technologies.