29 Apr 2020

DPR issues guidelines on offshore, onshore operations

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has issued new guidelines to industry players on managing the spread of coronavirus in offshore and remote locations.

According to the DPR in its industry circular made available by its Head, Public Affairs, Paul Osu, while strategies adopted by industry operators during this period is anchored on health & safety of personnel, compliance, stakeholders’ alignment, ensuring work-life balance, leveraging technology as well as ensuring continuity of businesses & operations, it has become imperative to adopt similar measures in onshore field locations.

The DPR said: “Most Offshore Operators maintain a transit center 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 (i.e. transit centre/offshore/off-duty) in compliance with DPR’s earlier directive on offshore rotation.

“To ensure that asymptomatic carriers are not missed out, a minimum of 14 days isolation period prior to embarkation should form part of your protocol for management of COVID-19 outbreak, as this conforms with the corona virus incubation period of 2-14 days.

“In addition, isolation centres should be made conducive enough to prevent psychological trauma and emotional imbalance as a result of solitary confinement”.

Though there are no requirements for supervised isolation of offshore workers immediately after disembarkation since offshore facilities are inherently controlled and isolated, the DPR noted that some operators have commenced COVID-19 testing whereas others are making plans to acquire appropriate test kits.

DPR therefore urged all companies to 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.

“DPR acknowledges the collaboration and display of understanding by both Industry Unions (PENGASSAN and NUPENG) in the implementation of the modified rotation schedule and other company-specific measures.”

The Department enjoins the Unions, as critical stakeholders, to maintain high level of cooperation with their respective companies during this precarious and challenging period.

“All operators shall promptly report any case of COVID-19 in their offices, locations or installations to appropriate authorities and the DPR”, the statement read in part.