A Non-Stationary Approach to Conducting Site-Specific Integrative Risk Management Assessments at Industrial Facilities at Risk from Extreme Weather Events

April 4, 2019

Dr. Harri Kytomaa, group vice president & principal engineer at Exponent, Dr. Paul Boehm, corporate vice president and vice president at Exponent, Dr. John Osteraas, group vice president and principal engineer at Exponent, Dr. Robert Haddad, group vice president and principal scientist at Exponent, Dr. Lindsey Gilman, managing engineer at Exponent, Dr. Ezra Jampole, senior engineer at Exponent, Dr. Patrick Murphy, senior managing engineer at Exponent, and Dr. Shukri Souri, corporate vice president and practice director at Exponent, wrote a co-authored paper, which was presented at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 2019 Spring Meeting and 15th Global Congress on Process Safety, in New Orleans, Louisiana. 


The physical forces and environmental stressors that occur during extreme weather events can place facilities at risk for multiple infrastructure failures, loss of operations, product loss, and major impactful chemical releases, all of which affect directly a company's bottom line. Hurricane Harvey (2017) resulted in over 100 such failures and chemical releases. Going forward, non-static (non-stationary) risk management approaches, wherein risk predictions incorporate and account for evolving environmental factors such as continuous sea level rise, will allow us to more accurately predict storm surge flooding as a function of time and provide more realistic long-term (decades) predictions to assist in actionable planning. An integrated three-part approach to assessing risk of infrastructure damage and chemical releases and the business and legal consequences therefrom will be presented. This approach consists of developing: a) temporally variant and spatially localized probabilistic predictions of flooding and forces related to flooding (FloodScore) with unprecedented resolution; b) detailed impact predictions on facility infrastructure and structural and supporting elements thereof based on these predictions; and c) a quantitative means of scoring the environmental/financial risk and consequences of chemicals releases as derived from (b). This integrated approach, which assesses risk of losses in the near term and out to 50 years, includes the assessment of ecological and human impact levels and provides actionable information for resiliency and risk mitigation planning.

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