With the steadily climbing numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Guyana, Public Relations and Government Affairs Advisor for ExxonMobil, Janelle Persaud, has given all assurances that the American multinational oil and gas corporation is taking all the necessary precautions to protect the health of its employees, especially those offshore.
Persaud said that offshore workers are being screened at the Ogle heliport before they are cleared to travel offshore. She said that this is done to ensure they are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus and that they have not knowingly come into contact with anyone who has the virus.
The ExxonMobil official also said that there are medical personnel onboard ExxonMobil’s offshore facilities, while adding that they are taking necessary precautions to monitor the health of the workers and provide appropriate treatment and care.
Persaud said that for the time being, there is no impact to production on the Liza Destiny, Guyana’s first floating production storage and offloading vessel.
“At this time, we are managing production rates to ensure safe and responsible operations and as indicated before, we continue to monitor the situation closely and will make adjustments as necessary,” the ExxonMobil official concluded.
From the global perspective, ExxonMobil’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Darren Woods has said that the company has been cutting back business travel.
Woods reminded that ExxonMobil has a long history of operating in countries around the world where there has been over time, the outbreak of different viruses such as Ebola and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
He said that as a result of those periods, ExxonMobil has been able to develop robust protocols, so that it can respond effectively when faced with similar situations such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Woods said, “We executed that (robust protocol) very early on, which means cutting back discretionary travel; which means folks moving into their homes and working remotely. We have geared up our workforce so we can do that effectively…So we have implemented that early on.”
The ExxonMobil CEO added, “What happens is, as we find that coronavirus is breaking out in different localities, we will set up systems. We have about 1500 employees in China, 750 in Italy, 125 in South Korea, and all those protocols have been in place. I am pleased to say that it has not affected our employees.”
With respect to the effect the coronavirus has had on operations, Woods admitted that some of ExxonMobil’s customers in China have pulled back and “that meant less product demand.”
Woods added that ExxonMobil has work to be completed at some fabrication yards and those slowed down.
On Tuesday, the company announced that it has shaved off US$10B from capital investments and even reduced operating expenses by 15 percent. Even as it adjusts its balance sheet regarding cost-saving strategies, the ExxonMobil Chief Executive stressed that a key consideration for the company will be to stay on top of the coronavirus and keep employees safe.
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