Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) plans to wind down its Covid task group, the trade body’s HSE boss has said.
In an interview with EV for our upcoming July supplement, Mark Wilson, HSE director at OEUK, said the time to retire the pandemic steering group, which has steered the sector through the virus, is now approaching as the pandemic moves to an “endemic” stage.
He said: “The key thing is with all of the groups that we set up with as OEUK is once they’ve achieved their outcome is that we don’t rumble it on, we can always reinvigorate it.”
OEUK will continue to monitor cases such as flu and other viruses developing in the southern hemisphere.
But the steering group is being wound down as individual operators now firmly have their own processes in place.
“We’ve moved to the ‘endemic’ stage – though it hasn’t been formally called that – moving from that pandemic to an endemic phase where it’s in the general population, operators are now implementing their own controls based upon their own risk perception, their own risk assessment and the regulatory aspects have changed as well to support that.”
He added: “We’re still meeting monthly as an industry for the pandemic steering group. and that’s really just to make sure we’ve got the right learnings.
“At a suitable point we are going to close the group down.”
Mr Wilson was keen to stress that the group is still meeting and can be jump-started again if needed.
The group oversaw measures such as the implementation of so-called ‘covid copters’ – allowing North Sea operators to safely remove potential or actual Covid-19 cases.
By stripping out seats and creating space for workers to isolate, choppers could bring workers back onshore to safely isolate in accordance with government guidelines.
In 2020 nearly 35,000 oil and gas jobs were lost as a result of the industry downturn, sparked largely by the pandemic.
The number of direct and indirect jobs dropped from 152,100 to 117,400 between 2019 and 2020.
OEUK said the majority of these are “indirect” roles supported by the sector across 35 industries such as manufacturing, catering and PPE providers.
OEUK market intelligence manager, Ross Dornan said at the time: “Obviously we’re an industry which has a range of energy hubs and Aberdeen is one, if not the largest, of them.
“Aberdeen has been at the centre of this and we can all feel that living here.”
Our full interview with Mark Wilson can be found in this month’s Energy Voice supplement, in print on Monday 4th July.