On the verge of covid 19 pandemic, the Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) has ordered oil and gas companies operating in the country to downsize their workforce and practice social distancing as a tightening measures to cushion the corona virus outbreak.
The regulatory body ordered oil and gas companies particularly the multinational, indigenous E & P companies and their contractors to reduce their offshore workforce and change to 28-day staff shift schedule as a measures in curbing the spread of the virus.
The staff reduction order came after the country shipping regulatory body Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said that six workers onboard an Offshore Rig Support Vessel (OSV) tested positive for corona virus.
“All operators and their contractors are to ensure strict compliance with relevant government directives and limit the number of personnel at project/construction sites accordingly,” Sarki Auwalu, the head of the DPR said.
“Non-essential staff currently at offshore/remote locations should be withdrawn with immediate effect,” he stated.
The NPA said the six positive tests that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported on a ship late last week were all aboard the Siem Marlin, a support ship for oil rigs that was sitting offshore Lagos.
The NPA said health officials accessed the vessel by helicopter. According to Reuters ship tracking, the vessel left the Onne Port Complex on the Bonny River Estuary on March 15, and in February visited the offshore terminals for Bonga and Bonny Light crude oil, two of Nigeria’s primary export grades.
Nigeria is keen to protect oil production, which provides 90% of much-needed foreign exchange. A coronavirus case on an offshore rig could spread quickly among workers and have a potentially devastating impact on production.
With the country international airports and land borders presently under locks and keys major cities like Lagos and the capital Abuja experiencing lock down, Health experts are concerned about the possible widespread outbreak of the virus in Africa’s most populous country of about 150 million people. Nigeria confirmed corona virus cases are increasing arithmetically and with less than10% death
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