According to Reuters, a source at the Ministry said that the outbreak on the platform is one of the sector’s highest reported infection clusters and brings to fore the threats coronavirus poses to offshore oil installations; where people typically work, sleep and eat in close quarters.
After the cases were recorded, the workers on the Serpentina floating production storage and offloading platform have been evacuated and are in quarantine. Meanwhile, ExxonMobil and government officials are working to disinfect the platform.
Confirming the news, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Hydrocarbons Gabriel Obiang Lima, told Reuters that “Production has not been affected and we don’t think it will be affected,” adding that the government will start testing for all offshore workers for coronavirus.
Equatorial Guinea’s largest crude stream, Zafiro, is exported by ExxonMobil primarily from the Serpentina FPSO (floating production and storage operation), which has a capacity of roughly 120,000 bpd.
However, a source close to the ministry revealed that the production was not affected at Zafiro oilfield or at Jade, which has a capacity of roughly 60,000 bpd.
Since the world started recording the novel coronavirus cases, many countries and companies limited the number of workers allowed at oil installations to curb the spread of the disease.
This has, however, created logistical challenges, especially as plummeting oil demand hammers global prices and limits operating budgets.
Equatorial Guinea has recorded 258 confirmed cases throughout the country and one death.
On Sunday another oil major, Total, confirmed 14 cases at its sites in the Congo Republic.