• Friday, May 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Oil companies restrict business contacts to stop spread of coronavirus in Nigeria

coronavirus pandemic

As the coronavirus case begins to multiply, oil companies operating in Nigeria have decided to restrict business contacts across their offices and operational bases to stem the spread of the virus.

The companies have limited visitations to their offices, business meetings among staff must be a distance of about two metres even when it is between two people in the office, while many of their workers are also directed to work from home.

Other steps taken so far are that there is restrictions on travelling among their workers, and when they do they should engage in 14-day self-quarantine and no handshake, hand sanitizers must be compulsorily applied and the  temperature of each worker must also be taken before they enter their office premises.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to Kennie Obateru, group general manager, public affairs, said the management of the corporations had been trying to sensitise workers of the corporation on the importance of adhering to all the general rules that had been put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

The group managing director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had been engaging in weekly podcast to the workers to ensure they take precautionary measures against contacting the virus.

Many external business scheduled meetings have been cancelled by the group managing director, while all those that came into the country are made to observe the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.

An official of Chevron Nigeria Limited that spoke with BusinessDay said, “As part of precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus, we are restricting business contacts with external parties to the barest minimum.”

According to her, as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the world – seriously impacting people’s health, our way of life and global markets, it is stated that it  is putting the safety and health of its workers and customers first, along with the safe operations of all our businesses.

The country communication manager of Total Exploration and Production, Charles Ebereonwu, when asked to explain steps being taken by his company to curb coronavirus, he said Total had put in place processes and procedures that ensure that all personnel and visitors to our locations observe extensive personal hygiene measures as advised by local and international health authorities.

“We have also complied with the Nigerian government’s directives on travels, especially from the countries affected by the Federal Government’s travel ban,” he said.

As a company with a strict Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) culture, our staff and families understand the need for necessary life-style modification to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, both within and outside the workplace, he said.

An indigenous oil service company, as part of the measures it has put in place, said there would be no travel for its official both local and international except it had become extremely necessary to do it.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil Corp is notifying contractors and vendors of planned near-term cuts in capital and operating expenses over the coronavirus pandemic, and will announce the plans once they are final, company spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry said on Sunday.

“Based on this unprecedented environment, we are evaluating all appropriate steps to significantly reduce capital and operating expenses in the near term,” Eikenberry said.

“We are notifying contractors and vendors of our intended reductions, and they may be adjusting their staffing and budgets accordingly,” he said.

Exxon reduced production on Saturday at its refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and cut 1,800 contract workers weekend, sources told Reuters.

The contract workers are employed by third-parties contracted by Exxon for refinery maintenance. “Exxon Mobil will outline plans when they are finalised,” Eikenberry said.

Exxon is also expected to delay a $30-billion liquefied natural gas plant in Mozambique. Exxon will make significant spending cuts, chief executive Darren Woods said.