Shell Evacuates More North Sea Project Workers on COVID-19 Outbreak
Nearly 150 workers have been evacuated or are due for evacuation from Shell's Shearwater project in the North Sea since a COVID-19 outbreak emerged at the end of June, the company said.
Nearly 150 workers have been evacuated or are due for evacuation from Shell's Shearwater project in the North Sea since a COVID-19 outbreak emerged at the end of June, the company said on 20 July, as the industry called for an exemption from self-isolation rules for offshore workers.
So far, 26 people at the Shearwater oil and gas hub have tested positive for COVID-19, with another 122 categorized as having been "close contacts" of those infected, Shell told S&P Global Platts.
Most have already been flown to shore, with a small number isolating at the facility before returning to shore, Shell said, adding that the spread of infection was slowing, with only five cases detected in the last 7 days of the outbreak.
Shearwater is the focus of concerns that rising UK infection rates could spread to the offshore oil and gas sector, which normally provides 1 million B/D of oil including the Brent and Forties benchmark grades and meets about half the country's gas needs.
Offshore workforce numbers have recently recovered to well over 10,000, following a steep fall last year in response the pandemic, according to industry figures.
Shearwater is currently shut down for summer maintenance and for work on the redevelopment project, which is central to Shell's realignment of its North Sea strategy.
The project is intended to redirect gas flows from a cluster of North Sea fields, some of them newly developed and operated by other companies, to St Fergus in Scotland and on to petrochemical facilities, rather than being sent ashore at Bacton, eastern England.
The project had already suffered delays because of the pandemic and last year's price crash, having originally been scheduled to come on stream in 2020.