by Ben Ndubuwa……
The Department of Petroleum Resources has said it will continue to support oil and gas firms in the country to enable them to keep operating amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The DPR, in a circular to operators and service providers over the weekend acknowledged their efforts in implementing stringent measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in their immediate environment and areas of operations.
It commended the industry players that had supported the Federal Government in its fight against the scourge, saying, “Your continued collaboration, donations and contributions are well appreciated.”
According to the circular, the strategies adopted by operators during this period are anchored on health and safety of personnel, compliance, stakeholders’ alignment, ensuring work-life balance, leveraging technology as well as ensuring continuity of businesses and operations.
It said, “Most offshore operators maintain a transit centre in an onshore facility where intending offshore workers are isolated and monitored, prior to embarkation for a 14/14/14, 14/28/14 or 14/28/28 days cycle (that is, transit centre/offshore/off-duty) in compliance with the DPR’s earlier directive on offshore rotation.
“To ensure that asymptomatic carriers are not missed out, a minimum of 14-day isolation period prior to embarkation should form part of your protocol for management of COVID-19 outbreak as this conforms with the coronavirus incubation period of 2-14 days.”
The DPR said isolation centres should be made conducive enough to prevent psychological trauma and emotional imbalance as a result of solitary confinement.
It said, “Generally, there are no requirements for supervised isolation of offshore workers immediately after disembarkation since offshore facilities are inherently controlled and isolated.
“Some operators have commenced COVID-19 testing whereas others are making plans to acquire appropriate test kits. All companies should ensure that such COVID-19 test kits and procedures conform to NCDC/WHO standards to guarantee reliable results and avert needless panic that may result from inaccurate testing.”
The agency urged all operators, service providers and contractors to remain focused in implementing established protocols at all locations.
“Whilst hoping for the imminent end of this pandemic and early return to normal operations, please be assured that the DPR will continue to support your business and facilitate continuity of operations in order to keep the wheels of the industry turning, all in overriding national interest,” it added