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Interorganizational coordination in oil spill emergency response: a case study of the Murmansk region of Northwest Russia

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Projected petroleum developments and an increase in maritime oil transportation in the Russian Arctic have raised awareness regarding the need for an effective oil spill emergency response (OSER) system. This paper examines the OSER system in the Murmansk region of Northwest Russia. The system comprises of multiple federal, regional and private organisations with functionally specified tasks. Coordination among the organisations becomes a prerequisite for the system as a whole to function. The study first discusses the different forms of formal and informal coordination mechanisms that are at play in the OSER system. Second, it analyses how the interdependencies in the OSER system affect organisational behavior, in terms of coordination or competition. We first conclude that while formal coordination mechanisms provide structure to the system, informal mechanisms facilitate the formal mechanisms and may compensate for shortcomings. Second, there is a sense of commonality of purpose related to being part of an OSER system that facilitates coordination. Meanwhile, the commercialisation of OSER services impedes coordination, in particular between response providing organisations. This is aggravated by gaps and overlaps in federal laws and policies. However, informants are positive regarding the system's ability to respond effectively in case of an oil spill.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Engineering and Safety, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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