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Slick software aids Mexican oil industry

Through adaptation and translation, software originally developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the U.S. Army will soon be installed at an oil refinery in Mexico.

EMADVANTAGE, short for Emergency Management Advantage, is based on a system created to prepare for emergencies at chemical weapons storage depots. "Both the depot and the refinery have known that centralized hazards can potentially affect the general public," said Dave Millard of Pacific Northwest who led the development of the original system and helped adapt it for Pemex, Mexico's state-owned petroleum company.

To create EMADVANTAGE, the Federal Emergency Management Information System was translated into Spanish and modified to address situations specific to the oil industry. It provides scenarios, task lists and federal contacts so officials can plan for and respond to events ranging from fires and explosions to toxic gas dispersion.

Battelle, which manages the Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, is marketing the technology for use with other emergency scenarios such as threats of earthquakes, forest fires or volcanoes. Battelle's connection to Pemex stems from an alliance that was created in 1998 with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Mexican Petroleum Institute and the Metropolitan University of Mexico. For more information on the Laboratory's emergency management software, see http://showcase.pnl.gov/show?it/FEMIS.

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