The oil and gas industry is facing a downturn exacerbated by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but companies in the sector are well-placed to help fight the spread of coronavirus.
Many companies have donated money to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, despite having recently made cutbacks. The fund purchase and ships protective equipment for medical workers, as well as issuing guidelines for the public. It will also put money toward research, helping develop vaccines and tracking the spread of the virus.
US operator Chevron has given $7m to food banks, education and health services, and is matching employee donations two-to-one.
Austrian oil, gas, and petrochemical company OMV are donating $1.09m (€1m) of fuel cards to the Austrian Red Cross and Caritas Austria, a food and shelter charity.
Refining company Valero has donated $1.8m to fight the virus in the cities where it operates. In a statement, it said it would “support organisations on the front lines helping people most in need”.
Also, companies are introducing new protocols to keep workers safe because safety as it is said, begins from home. Social distancing measures have led to massive staff cuts at offshore installations in the North Sea. Maintenance projects there and worldwide have been canceled until the pandemic is under control.
In Nigeria, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, ordered oil and gas companies operating in the country to reduce their offshore workforce, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
UK oil and gas company BP has removed thousands of workers from the Tangguh LNG facility expansion project worksite in Indonesia, because of its “remote, closely-confined workspace”. It has donated $2m to the WHO fund so far.
In Brazil, one of BP’s joint ventures is using ethanol from sugarcane intended for fuel used to make disinfectant. It is then distributing this to local health services to help 1.4m at risk of coronavirus.
The company has also started offering free fuel to emergency service vehicles in the UK. It is supporting efforts in Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Poland while giving fuel cards to emergency service workers in Germany. It has also supplied free jet fuel to four air ambulance charities in the UK.
French company Total is making a similar effort, donating fuel vouchers worth $54.39m (€50m) to hospitals across France.
Meanwhile, US giant ExxonMobil is working on the redesign and manufacture of a reusable protective mask. The mask would use disposable cartridges containing filter fabrics and would withstand sterilisation. Because of this, it would not need to be replaced.