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…as 98 workers test positive so far, 53 recover
COVID-19 cases offshore Guyana have spread between ExxonMobil’s Noble Tom Madden and the Noble Sam Croft drillship. As a result, operations on the Noble Sam Croft have been paused as the safety of the workforce is being prioritized.
As of Saturday, May 22, 2021, there were 45 active cases recorded. Public and Government Affairs Advisor at Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), Janelle Persaud confirmed to the Village Voice News that while some persons are being isolated offshore, others are receiving treatment at isolation facilities onshore.
As of Saturday, there were 36 positive persons isolated on the drillship Noble Sam Croft while 9 were isolated onshore. Previously, on May 20, the Noble Tom Madden had one positive crew member in isolation while the Noble Sam Croft had 29.
As persons recover or are transferred onshore, figures fluctuate. “If necessary, plans are in place to safely transport other positive workers onshore. We have also activated additional protocols, including vigorous testing on all of the drillships, contact tracing and isolation to prevent further spread of the virus,” Persaud stated.
In total, 98 workers have tested positive for the virus since the first offshore case while 53 have recovered. Before deployment offshore, each crew member is PCR tested several times over a 14-day isolation period at staging facilities. Previously, the oil and gas Company had explained what it believes may have led to the virus making its way offshore, despite strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines.
It was explained that the medical community suggests there is a one in 5,000 chance of a greater than 12 day incubation period for COVID-19. As such, considering that Exxon Mobil has moved some 10,000 persons to facilitate its operations, there is the belief that this may have led to the first case going undetected.
Meanwhile, Persaud was questioned about what the Company believes may have led to the cross over of cases between drillships. She said that this was likely as a result of inter-rig transfers before the first case was detected. To curb the spread, inter-rig transfers no longer take place. While operations on the Nobel Sam Croft have been paused, safe operations continue on the other five drillships as well as the Liza Destiny FPSO. Persaud said: “There are additional medical personnel onboard our offshore facilities who are taking necessary precautions to monitor the health of the workers and provide appropriate treatment and care.”
Meanwhile, as an additional precaution, workers have been strongly encouraged to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination. To date, over 350 workers have opted to take the vaccine at Exxon Mobil’s staging facility in Houston, Texas. “We are progressing plans to make vaccines available for our workforce at staging facilities here in Guyana,” Persaud added. There are over 900 persons offshore on ExxonMobil’s drillships.