Energy giant BP has joined a list of operators working to reduce offshore crew numbers on its North Sea assets in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Yesterday a series of firms announced plans to reduce their offshore crews or delay non-essential activities in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including Taqa, Repsol Sinopec, Equinor and CNOOC.
BP has now confirmed it is reviewing offshore activities “on several key areas including critical staffing” to reduce the number of workers on its offshore installations.
The outbreak of the virus – known as Covid 19 – has dramatically hit oil prices, wiping more than £4billion of purchase activity from the UK and Norway, according to consultancy Rystad Energy, with more than 200 oilfield services firms “set to become insolvent” as a result.
A BP spokesman said: “We have been conducting a review of offshore activity focusing on several key areas including critical staffing to reduce personnel on board to the level required to protect and maintain safe and steady operations.”
The oil major has several operated UK North Sea assets, including the Clair and Clair Ridge platforms West of Shetland, along with the Schiehallion and Glen Lyon FPSOs.
It also operates the ETAP installation and Andrew Area in the central North Sea, although the latter is in the process of being sold to Premier Oil, and also holds non-operated stakes in a number of other fields.
BP’s North Sea business supports around 1,175 employees.
Fellow major Shell is not currently reducing offshore crews but said it would respond as the situation develops.
The move comes as Maersk Drilling yesterday said four workers on its Maersk Highlander rig, attached to Total’s Culzean platform, were in quarantine over a suspected coronavirus case.
To date, the only confirmed offshore case has been at Equinor’s Martin Linge field in Norway, although the firm did have a suspected case at the Mariner field last week.
Fellow operator Chrysaor has also reported a suspected case at its North Everest field