The Canadian oil and gas sector is adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic by embracing increasingly diligent measures.
LNG Canada announced that a 50% reduction of the 2,000-strong labor force building its Kitimat seaport natural gas export terminal in British Columbia (BC) will be made this week by suspending the arrival of half of its commuter crew rotations.
Remaining workers will focus on project essentials such as fulfilling permit schedule commitments and receiving overseas cargos of plant parts and construction materials. Freighter sailors have been confined to their ships.
If necessary, LNG Canada, contractor JGC Fluor and site contractors will “implement a final reduction of staff working on site to critical levels required to maintain site security and environmental controls,” the company said.
Meanwhile, the northern climate will help to naturally reduce construction work temporarily on the LNG Canada terminal’s Coastal GasLink (CGL) supply pipeline across 670 kilometers (400 miles) of BC forests and mountains.
An annual seasonal activity lull, known as spring breakup, is at hand as melting snow and thawing earth make the northern BC ground too soft to support equipment and crews. CGL has also cancelled site tours, closed offices and adopted staff movement restrictions.
Neither LNG Canada nor CGL has detected coronavirus infections among their personnel, but Calgary, the first Canadian city to declare a formal health state of emergency, currently has Alberta’s highest number of virus cases.
“Work from home” is emerging as the business rule for enduring the pandemic. Staff that must be physically present on corporate premises follow strict hygiene protocols for preventing the spread of the virus.
As a federal authority, the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has said it aims to set an example of using defenses recommended by public health agencies.
Regulatory oral hearings have been cancelled. All meetings such as information and technical conferences have been turned into telephone conferences or webinars, or else postponed. “Staff attendance in a CER capacity at any public events has been suspended,” according to an agency statement.
Canadian pipeline and power transmission companies were warned that the national regulatory agency wants them to make safety adaptations to the health threat.
“The CER expects regulated companies to commit the necessary resources to plan for and respond to the impacts and potential impacts caused by this [pandemic] event.
“The CER also expects regulated companies to consider the potential challenges that this pandemic may present in the event of an incident or emergency situation and that the appropriate resources are being dedicated to planning and preparing.”
The CER’s provincial counterpart, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), announced parallel steps that adopt anti-virus “distancing” by cancelling oral hearings, replacing meetings with online chats or telephone calls, and working from home whenever possible.