Following concerns raised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), on non-compliance to COVID-19 protocols in offshore oil fields, operators of the Bonga oil field have allayed fears, noting that production is being ramped up on the field.
According to the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), the Bonga Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel was restarted on June 15, 2020, and production is ramping up after the successful completion of the scheduled maintenance activities ahead of schedule.
Shell’s spokesperson, Bamidele Odugbesan, while reacting to reports about the disruption of maintenance efforts at the Bonga oil field, allegedly forcing the oil producer to evacuate workers due to a coronavirus outbreak, said the project had already been completed.
“The health, welfare and safety of our staff remain our topmost priority, and we have in place a business continuity plan for the continued safe operations of our facilities.
“We also have an offshore medical support and health protocol for managing any suspected case of COVID-19, in addition to pre-offshore mobilisation medical screening in line with country regulations and with guidance from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control,” he added.
With the country suffering huge revenue losses from decline in oil prices since March, and inability to sell its oil barges during the lockdown, there are fears that production may be disrupted with the spread of the virus in oil fields locations.
Offshore production accounts for more than 60 per cent of Nigeria’s 2.10 million-2.20 million b/d crude and condensate output. Yesterday, Nigeria’s Bonny light rose by 2.36 per cent to close at $42.93 per barrel at 4:17pm local time.
Nigeria’s oil receipts have continued to drop with the country’s revenue from the sector dropping by N425.52 billion in the first quarter of 2020 to N940.91 billion, according to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), last Tuesday, warned that the act of non-compliance could severely disrupt activities in the industry, which is a critical sector of the Nigerian economy.