bp’s North Sea offshore workers have given an insight into how they are adapting their working practices to stay safe in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The teams on the ETAP and Mungo platforms have produced a short video showing their new protocols and ways of working to minimize the risk of infection from the virus, ensuring the safety of not only the employees working on the rigs but also of their families when they return home.
The video was recently shared by the Scottish network, STV, and went out to more than 500,000 viewers.
Ariel Flores, BP’s regional president for the North Sea, said:
Reminder: bp has coordinated a dedicated North Sea COVID-19 rescue helicopter that is specially equipped to safely return offshore workers with suspected coronavirus to the mainland for treatment.
Protocols for bp’s Thunder Horse platform in the US Gulf of Mexico have become a benchmark for protecting crews from coronavirus throughout the oil and gas industry.
Miranda Jones, bp’s Gulf of Mexico HSE manager, says:
Key measures on the bp-operated facilities include:
Miranda adds:“I can’t say enough about the offshore team and how they’ve led through this crisis. They have really been incredibly humble and patient. They’re the tip of the spear, living and operating in this environment.”
Around the world, BP’s refineries are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with measures designed to protect people while keeping vital fuel supplies flowing.
“The essential parts of the job haven’t changed,” says Klaas Steur, the shift manager at Rotterdam refinery, in the Netherlands. “We need to operate the plant as safely, efficiently and reliably as possible, within all the normal BP rules, but the way we do that has changed.”
While all non-essential staff are now working from home, thousands of people are still needed on site, which has meant shift patterns have changed to allow for social distancing measures.
At Castellón refinery, in Spain, for example, the team now works two 12-hour shifts instead of the usual three eight-hour stints, with everyone working seven days followed by a long period off.
At Gelsenkirchen, in Germany, new ‘red’ and ‘blue’ team shift patterns are in place, with each team switching between working at the refinery and at home. Meanwhile, shift handovers at Rotterdam are now conducted on a one-to-one basis instead of in groups.
These changes mean that clear, regular communication is vital and all the refineries are making greater use of technology to achieve this.
Despite the challenges involved, morale across BP’s refineries is high. Carlos Garcia Sanchez, shift superintendent at Castellón refinery, says:
This is the specially modified Sikorsky S92 helicopter that was commissioned jointly by BP and Chrysaor to safely repatriate North Sea oil and gas workers suspected of having coronavirus.
The helicopter, which has been made available to other oil and gas operators in the North Sea, is bigger than the standard offshore helicopters used by BP and has special features to help keep crew and passengers safe from possible cross contamination, including:
After landing onshore, employees with suspected COVID-19 are taken to meet a doctor at a dedicated assessment centre and are then transported home or to hospital in a special isolation taxi.
Chris Laughton, Clair Ridge offshore installation manager, said the helicopter has been a welcome addition to the region:
Castrol is supporting thousands of mechanics in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the fight against COVID-19.
Hand hygiene kits containing sanitizer and other disinfecting products were delivered to thousands of mechanics and independent workshops across the UAE before the lockdown (captured here on film).
In addition, a series of short videos prepared in both English and Arabic supports the drive with tips on ensuring that workshops are thoroughly and regularly disinfected and all surfaces and tools are free of contaminants. The videos are expected to benefit more than 10,000 mechanics in the region.
JK Natarajan, Castrol marketing director in the region, praised the team who put the campaign together. He said:
BP’s retail site staff working on the frontline all over the world during the coronavirus pandemic are pulling together to keep communities moving.
Every day, they serve customers fuel and food, albeit with some notable changes to working practices.
BP has introduced safety measures at its retail sites worldwide. Read more about them here.
Despite restrictions, BP’s retail employees remain upbeat and keen to help their communities in any way they can.
In the UK, BP M&S site manager Rachael Barlow is extremely proud of the way her team has stepped up during the crisis, saying:
Reminder: discounted, or free, fuel and free hot drinks are being offered to the emergency services at many BP retail sites all over the world.
During the COVID-19 crisis, flying thousands of workers home from a construction project in remotest Indonesia has become essential to continuing safe operations.
Getting those people home safely to 30 different countries has been the heroic job of BP’s John Schwebel.
The ex-Army Reservist is the construction manager at the Tannguh Expansion Project, BP’s biggest site project and the most far flung, being eight hours from Jakarta.
Weeks ago, 13,700 staff were working on this huge construction project – now thanks to John, just a core team remain.
The logistical challenge is huge, he says, but staying aware of people’s mental health is just as demanding.
“I need to stay alert to other people’s stress; help make sure that they’re not distracted by the many news stories on social media, and keep communicating our plans so that people feel confident. And, If I think someone needs to go home sooner, then we’ll make that happen.”
Over the past two weeks, BP has bolstered its frontline UK retail staff with the addition of 200 temporary team members.
The new hires will help to manage increased demand at company-owned sites and relieve the pressure on existing staff. There are nearly 100 more roles to fill, including management jobs in stores.
Vicki Barber, from BP’s recruitment team, says:
New team members will help in all aspects of the retail business with a focus on receiving deliveries, packing home delivery orders for customers, and making sure that vital stock is on our shelves.
BP’s temporary workforce will play an important role in allowing us to continue supporting local communities with everyday essentials.