Travel restrictions, crew screenings – service companies ramp up coronavirus responses

World Oil staff 3/4/2020

HOUSTON – 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 a number of situations presents a set of unique challenges that industry companies are meeting with various solutions.

For instance, 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. “At Oceaneering, the safety and wellbeing of our employees and our local communities are of the utmost importance,” said the company. “Due to the recent outbreak of Covid-19 Coronavirus, and coupled with a new threat level assessment issued by the World Health Organization, Oceaneering has decided to cancel participation at upcoming conferences and events.”

Oceaneering reportedly is implementing a screening process for U.S. Gulf of Mexico assets, to limit potential exposure to personnel working and traveling onboard its vessels.

Restrictions on non-essential business travel have also been put in place worldwide at drilling service provider Halliburton, a move being duplicated at other companies with a similar globally-dispersed workforce.

Schlumberger is implementing precautions, saying in an official statement that "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."

Baker Hughes is pursuing similar safeguards, saying "We are following the situation closely, and have taken proactive measures to protect our employees and minimize any impacts to our operations. This includes temporarily restricting non-essential travel globally. We have also shared resources and guidance with all of our employees, and are in close communication with our customers. We are continuing to monitor and will take further steps, if necessary."


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