Ghana Upstream Petroleum Chamber supports gov’t efforts to address COVID-19 threat
As the global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic rises to more than 35,000, there is a growing concern about its impact on the country’s oil and gas industry and economy as a whole.
In support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and government’s efforts to address the threat, the Ghana Upstream Petroleum Chamber is working with companies in the sector on taking precautionary measures to avoid spread of the virus.
A full procedural protocol has been put in place by member-companies to prevent and support treatment, should there be a case of infection. Each member-company, and in particular the operators, have implemented extensive operational policies and procedures to ensure the safety of staff and crew, prevent transmission of the virus, and make sure operations continue.
The Chamber is reviewing guidance provided by government, and will work with members to strictly follow government recommendations. Anyone suspected of having an infection, both offshore and onshore, will be placed in immediate quarantine following the guidelines provided by the government of Ghana and respective company guidelines and safety measures.
Offshore travel restrictions are being observed, and many expatriate staff outside the country have deferred travel until a later date. Employees who have recently travelled from high-risk areas of the world are not allowed to travel offshore, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. Those who have travelled from low-risk countries are required to self-quarantine and seek medical advice if they have the symptoms.
Commenting on the situation, CEO of the Chamber David Ampofo said: “Government has taken the lead with a host of measures, including a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country and a two-week shutdown of some major cities in Ghana. Clearly, no effort is being spared to reduce the rate of transmission and guarantee business continuity.
“The industry recognises the urgency of the situation and is fully in support of government’s efforts. These are essential services, as we are all dependent on the need for oil and gas to continue flowing in this critical period. The operators and government are working together to ensure safety and business-continuity.” As an essential service provider, the industry looks forward to being included in the list of sectors which are exempt from the current lockdown.
“So far, no one in the industry has tested positive for the virus; and members of the Chamber are being urged to do all in their power to reduce the workforce’s risk of exposure.
“To support the efforts laid forward by government, and to protect staff, stakeholders and the communities we operate in, some companies have also implemented and activated their Emergency Response Plans and Business Continuity Plans. This means all non-essential and non-critical operational staff are working from home, or remotely.
“We continue to monitor events and will work closely with government to minimise spread of the coronavirus in the oil and gas industry, and the country as a whole.”