Covid-19 has resurfaced unexploited opportunities for OSBs to demonstrate their agility and ability. Two-third of the planet earth is sea and 90% of the global trade and commerce is through Shipping and Maritime industry. The shipping industry is one of the few survivors from the past events of centuries and most experienced in dealing with natural disasters, economic downturns, epidemics and warfare. At the core of this survivor capability is the culture of managing and ensuring Safety of Life at Sea. Ports and harbours may be closed due to economic pressures or shore-based epidemics and force majeure events. Offshore Supply Bases (“OSB”) are the sole point of contact between offshore fields and nearest place of refuge. OSBs must always remain open and operationally ready to avoid catastrophic damages.

The governments, maritime authorities, P & I Clubs, and Insurance Underwriters have issued a series of circulars and guidelines to contain the spread of virus and manage situations effectively. For instance:

  • Crew change not permitted
  • Shore leave cancelled
  • Movement of repairs and spares from shore to ship on emergency need basis only
  • Quarantine of crew and ships at sea
  • Ship-shore interface minimised
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Some of these directives when applied to an OSB, will directly impact the operations and continuity of activities at offshore fields where crew is deployed on 14 days-on and 14 days-off cycles. Weekly supply of provisions, bi-weekly supply of repairs, spares, and materials in addition to breakdown related repair services from OSB will be expected without interruptions.

Additional Risks Assessment

MCA UK Guidelines of 11 May 2020 issued a circular on “Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)” with five steps, when applied to an OSB operations would mean:

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures – enhance for the pre-existing procedures with focus on Covid-19 virus and bacteria
  3. Help people to work from home – may not be feasible for OSBs already operating with minimum workforce
  4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible – avoid body contact and stay clear of the breathing spaces, especially when entering enclosed spaces
  5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk – protective head gear with masks and eyewear

Availability of Support Services for Offshore Customers

OSBs will be expected to provide additional services for their customers to manage operations. The services like the following are not only a business opportunity but a necessity to be made available:

  1. Quarantine facilities within an OSB
  2. Mobile Field Hospitals – Infantry Style
  3. Provisions feeder services
  4. Regular supply of HSE and Hygiene Related Consumables to offshore Fields
  5. Emergency repair services within an OSB
  6. Crew Transfer Service with pre-approved clearance from authorities
  7. Hotel and boarding facilities for foreign crew
  8. Storage and disposal of waste in context of new controls and restrictions

The management of OSBs is now under spotlight and will be put to test by each Oil & Gas field operator worldwide, irrespective of geographical area whether affected by Covid-19 or not.

For a conducting comprehensive review and enhancing the management of OSBs, a customized course is being brought forward from 29 June to 1 July 2020. Contact Asia Edge info@asiaedge.net for further details and registrations.