Upstream oil and gas sector hit by positive COVID-19 tests

Upstream oil and gas sector hit by positive COVID-19 tests

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority today confirmed no major outbreaks of COVID-19 had occurred in Australian waters, proving the measures taken by operators and industry to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus is working. 

However, internationally, COVID-19 cases have risen dramatically over the last fortnight across oil and gas platforms and facilities. 

Nearly 800 workers at the US$21 billion Arctic LNG project have been confirmed positive for COVID-19, the largest upstream outbreak to date. This is despite Russian operator Novatek putting in place strict quarantine measures at the Belokamenka facility. So far around 500 workers have been flown out from the site for medical treatment. 

Elsewhere, more than thirty workers on an ExxonMobil floating production storage and offloading vessel, the Serpentina FPSO, in Equatorial Guinea tested positive for COVID-19 last week and medivaced back to shore for quarantine according to government officials. 

There was also an outbreak on Bluewater Energy Services’ FPSO, the Aoka Mizu, last week, operating for Hurricane Energy in the UK North Sea. BES have 73 workers aboard the FPSO who are currently being tested. 

It is not just upstream production facilities that have been hit. Shipyards throughout Asia are suffering as workers spread the disease creating clusters at two fabrication factories. 

The Sembcorp Marine yard has been ordered to shut down after a foreign worker infected 56 workers. The infections followed earlier identified cases at the Keppel Shipyard a week ago. 

Meanwhile a worker at the Portsmouth Naval shipyard died earlier this month after becoming infected. 

In Canada, Imperial Oil has also seen an outbreak at its Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta. More than 50 employees have tested positive. 

Chevron’s Tengiz expansion project in Kazakhastan has also been hit with multiple positive tests at worker camps. 

Chevron also announced two cases of COVID-19 on an offshore platform in the US Gulf of Mexico.

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