Travel restrictions, crew screenings – Service Companies Ramp Up Coronavirus Responses
As coronavirus cases multiply worldwide, oilfield service companies are stepping up their internal safeguards to protect the health of employees and contractors onshore and offshore. Defending employees from exposure to the coronavirus in the close confines of an offshore vessel presents its own set of challenges.
Subsea engineering and service provider Oceaneering has implemented a stop on non-essential business travel, and updated its virus response plan to cover both the company’s 10 owned vessels, and vessels under contract.
In an internal email seen by World Oil, Oceaneering said it is implementing a screening process for U.S. Gulf of Mexico assets, “to limit potential exposure to personnel working and traveling onboard our vessels.”
The company has updated its vessel response plans with a three-tiered approach to monitor and respond to “any and all virus[es] that may present themselves onboard.” The plans include screening questionnaires for crews prior to boarding, increased vessel cleaning routines, and boarding restrictions for those who have visited CDC Travel Notice Level 2 or 3 countries in the past 14 days.
Restrictions on non-essential business travel have also been put in place worldwide at drilling service provider Halliburton, a move likely to be duplicated at other companies with a similarly globally-dispersed workforce. Weatherford declined to comment on its plans, while Baker Hughes did not respond to a request for an update on their response initiatives.
Schlumberger is implementing precautions as well, saying in an emailed statement “Schlumberger continues to closely monitor the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. We confirm that a travel restriction is in place, and that we are following the guidance provided by WHO. The health and safety of our people remains our number one priority.”