Esso Australia 'islanding' our energy streams

Maintaining social distancing on offshore platforms poses unique challenges.

In order to ensure vital gas supplies are maintained from Bass Strait platforms through the COVID-19 pandemic, Upstream Oil & Gas has implemented a complex regime that has been called “islanding”.

“We have reduced our offshore activity levels and workforce to those required to maintain ongoing safe, reliable operations,” said Gippsland Production Manager Stu Jeffries.

“We have asked those remaining at home to exercise enhanced isolation in order maintain layers of contingency into our critical workforce.”

The “islanding” measures, focused particularly at gas production, begin as workers arrive at the Longford Heliport. The departure area has been divided up according to each helicopter in order to maintain separation of passengers according to the platform they are heading to.

“We have enhanced screening of passengers, including temperature checks,” said Stu.

“We have also amended our flight schedules in order to minimise the number of platforms each helicopter calls at.

“We have installed screens in the aircraft to keep the pilots separated from their passengers and we have also introduced measures to ensure the integrity of our critical Heliport operations.”

The objective of the islanding measures is to keep teams from each platform and the Heliport separated from each other as much as practicable.

“We have also introduced a wide range of measures on each platform to enhance social distancing and prevent any infections,” said Stu.

“For example, we have stopped using salad bars in the dining areas and we have staggered meal times and rostered times in the gyms and we have enhanced cleaning of facilities from the Heliport to the platform.”

Across the offshore operations there is a structured process to manage the priority of ensuring the health and safety of all personnel while maintaining gas supplies.

“As part of our emergency preparedness we regularly conduct exercises and drills, but this pandemic has presented us with unprecedented challenges,” said Stu.

“Our team continues to work together to identify and implement measures to keep each other safe, so that we can maintain our critical energy supplies to eastern Australia.”
Image Measures to support physical distancing are in place at our heliport.

Measures to support physical distancing are in place at our heliport.