Mock exercise provides key training for Dakota Gas, Antelope Valley Station employees

Employees at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant participated in emergency exercises this month to test plans established in the event an incident occurs on Antelope Valley Station’s synthetic natural gas (SNG) pipeline station. This location is where Antelope Valley Station brings SNG from the Synfuels Plant for use in boiler startups.

“We have not tested our emergency response plans in an event at this location so we decided it would be a good exercise for everyone,” said Claude O’Berry, Dakota Gas pipeline and protection services superintendent.

Synfuels Plant employees from protection services, pipeline operations, the industrial fire brigade, and medical services participated in the exercise, as well as a number of Antelope Valley Station employees. The exercise was held Oct. 1, 5, 9, and 13 to allow employees from all shift crews to attend.

The mock incident included a SNG release from a safety vent valve at Antelope Valley Station’s pipeline metering station. In the incident, the release resulted in an explosion and a person was unaccounted for.

“These exercises are a good learning tool and a great way for our employees to practice as they walk through and react to these types of events,” O’Berry said. “Overall, the exercises went well, with a few items noted for improvement.”

While observers took notes during the exercise, those involved also were asked to complete a self-evaluation guide. “An after-action report will be compiled using these notes and is an integral key to the ongoing success of the emergency management programs,” O’Berry said. “Our goal continues to be increased preparedness by focusing on the needs of training, communication, planning, organizing, equipment, and future exercises to continually better our emergency response plans.”