More than a dozen workers have been removed from a North Sea installation after two separate cases of Covid-19 were detected on board.
Oil and gas giant BP’s ETAP platform, around 100 miles east of Aberdeen, is the latest offshore facility to be hit by the virus in the last few weeks.
BP has now confirmed that a member of crew on ETAP, the East Trough Area Project, was evacuated after testing positive for Covid.
A further eight individuals, who were identified as having been in close contact with the person, all tested negative and are now isolating until they can be demobilised.
In a separate case, which BP said was “unrelated” to the first, an asymptomatic worker was evacuated from ETAP after they also tested positive for the virus.
Again, 12 workers identified as having been in close contact with the patient all returned negative tests.
According to BP, 11 of those were flown off the platform over the weekend as a precaution, while the remaining crew member will be flown home at the earliest opportunity.
ETAP, which started up production in 1998, is made up of several BP-operated fields which are processed through a central hub.
A spokesman for the energy firm said: “BP can confirm a member of crew on the ETAP platform has been safely returned to Aberdeen after testing positive for Covid-19. The individual is receiving all necessary support.
“Eight individuals who were identified as being in close contact with the person have all tested negative for Covid-19. They are isolating in their cabins and, as a precaution, will be demobilised from the platform at the earliest opportunity.
“In an unrelated case on ETAP, an individual who was not showing any symptoms but tested positive for Covid-19 has been safely returned to Aberdeen.
“Twelve individuals identified as being in close contact to this person all returned a negative result for Covid-19. As a precaution, 11 were flown back to Aberdeen over the weekend. The remaining crew member is to be flown ashore at the earliest opportunity.
“BP continues to follow all procedures and protocols to minimise the risk of Covid-19 offshore and to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and contractors. We continue to monitor and respond to this situation, following all guidance.”
Trade body Oil and Gas UK recently called for offshore workers to be included in the next round of vaccinations, following the completion of the current phase for the vulnerable and frontline NHS workers.
A fortnight ago the weekly number of North Sea category C cases, those who are displaying symptoms of the virus, reached 20, the highest level since early May.
Meanwhile the total number of asymptomatic workers that have been evacuated from offshore platforms as a precaution, known as category B cases, recently stood at 769, more than double the figure in October.