Covid-19 is delaying safety work across oil and gas sector

The Covid-19 pandemic was delaying vital maintenance across the oil and natural gas industries in Europe and North America, reports Bloomberg.

Restrictions on the numbers of contractors on rigs, pipelines and production sites had forced companies to delay long-planned work.

For refiners, last-minute changes were being made to scale back so-called turnarounds, allowing the most urgent work required by regulators to proceed, while other projects have to wait.

Norway’s Equinor ASA has delayed maintenance at five offshore oil and gas platforms, as well as a liquefied natural gas plant.

Work on the main crude pipeline running from the North Sea has been put off, and Phillips 66 has postpone d three major projects.

Oil installations are subject to routine inspections because of the wide range of risks to workers and the environment from sites that process hydrocarbons, but companies were now having to set priorities because of the coronavirus. Norway’s gas network operator said that it was only reducing non-critical work. Major work scheduled at Marathon Petroleum’s giant Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City has been postponed. Finland’s Neste Oyj has scaled back a turnaround that’s long been planned for its main refinery, Bloomberg said.