Production from the UKCS is a key part of the UK’s energy security – maintaining supply is all the more important during situations like the one we are currently facing in the fight against COVID-19. OGUK is working on behalf of industry to secure government and regulator support which protects the safety of our people, ensures the safe production of secure and affordable energy, and mitigates the impact on jobs and businesses
The UK Government has mandated that, wherever possible, these activities should be done remotely, but they have also recognised that where they cannot – as with offshore oil and gas production and roles at certain key onshore terminals – then they should be done in the workplace in a way that minimises the risk of infection. As part of a key industry, if you have been identified by your employer as unable to work remotely, you will be allowed to travel to your place of work and a standard format letter of permission is being developed that your employer can use.
Our people are essential for providing energy and products to the UK, keeping Britain running during these unprecedented times, powering hospitals, fuelling vehicles for emergency services and key workers, and providing essential supplies.
• The UK offshore oil and gas industry contributes around 51 per cent of UK gas which is used for a large proportion of our electricity production and which heats the vast majority of our homes.
• They also produce a major proportion of the oil – 74 per cent of the UK’s need – that fuels our cars and is used in the manufacture of a huge proportion of the items we use in our daily lives – from contact lenses and toothbrushes to the lightweight cases on our mobile phones.
• Protecting this industry is key to our energy today and to the skills and resources, we need to deliver net zero.
• Our members are working hard to safely provide the secure and affordable energy the UK needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
• You will have seen that the Government has advised those in other countries, on holiday, to return to the UK. This advice is advice for the public, targeted at those currently on their travels. It is not intended for those engaged in essential work. Again, we are seeking further clarity on this and will provide more information as and when available.
• General advice for the public is to maintain a two-metre distance wherever possible. However official advice does recognise that in some work settings this is not possible. Under these circumstances, control measures can be taken to reduce the risk to workers. In this case guidance on managing COVID-19 is clear: where it is not possible to remain two metres away, and where work must continue, controls should be introduced so that the risk of transmission is reduced to as low as is reasonably practicable.
• We understand that there will be many questions relating to how this is being implemented in offshore workplaces and associated spaces, as well as helicopters, but communication about specific issues between workforce and companies will help to ensure everyone knows what needs to be done to stay safe.