Nigeria’s oil production is facing risk as rising number of coronavirus cases among workers at offshore oil fields and platforms in the country is a growing concern with disruption to output.
Maintenance at the offshore Bonga oil field has already been disrupted after the operator, Shell, was forced to evacuate workers due to a coronavirus outbreak, sources close to the matter said on June 24.
Nigeria’s upstream regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said a growing number of workers were being diagnosed with coronavirus at offshore and remote oil locations and expressed fears it might disrupt production.
The DPR did not, however, name the fields affected, but blamed the outbreak on personnel not adhering to the rules and guidelines before leaving offshore oil locations.
“Consequently…no personnel (including government authorities) shall be permitted to move to offshore/remote locations in the oil and gas industry without being fully subjected to established protocols,” DPR said in a statement.
“Furthermore, all operators are to ensure that evidence of compliance with the protocols by personnel travelling to offshore/remote locations is duly documented,” the agency added.
Offshore production accounts for more than 60 per cent of Nigeria’s 2.10 million-2.20 million b/d crude and condensate output.
Earlier this week, Shell began evacuating workers from the Bonga floating, production, storage and offloading unit after some of them contracted coronavirus, resulting in the maintenance program being halted.
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