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Russia acknowledges Covid-19 spread to remote oil developments in Siberia

The majority of new cases has been reported in city of Surgut where oil producer Surgutneftegaz is headquartered

Source : Upstream, Vladimir Afanasiev in  Moscow

Russian authorities have reported continued spread of Covid-19 to oil installations in West and East Siberia despite containment efforts that include double tests and quarantine for incoming shift workers.

Authorities in the Krasnoyarsk region in East Siberia have confirmed that 11 workers at the Vankor oilfield tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.

Field operator RN-Vankor, a subsidiary of country’s largest oil producer Rosneft, said that all individuals were airlifted to a nearest hospital, while the on-site dormitory where they lived, had been shut.

RN-Vankor said that it is conducting all necessary containment measures at installations at the field in line with recommendations by Russian health authorities. Schedule of work shifts has been amended to minimize contacts between employees, it added.

Vankor is a Rosneft’s flagship greenfield development, however, access to the field is possible only by air during the short summer season.

An additional 11 Covid cases have been reported at two oil producing subsidiaries of Russian oil producer Lukoil in West Siberia, Kogalymneftegaz and Povkhneftegaz, according to authorities of the Khanty-Mansiysk region.

Khanty-Mansiysk governor Natalia Komarova has placed the blame for the outbreak on Lukoil subsidiaries, claiming that they had failed to prevent contacts between shift workers and those employees who return to region’s towns and cities at the end of their work day.

The Covid-19 outbreak has been pinpointed to a district hospital in the city of Kogalym, with medical personnel in the hospital transmitting the virus to members of their families, working at oilfields.

Povkhneftegaz executive said that about 75% of its employees were tested for Covid-19 presence, with the outbreak “remaining fully under control”.

Authorities said that 220 new Covid-19 cases were registered in the Khanty-Mansiysk region on Tuesday, with 90 of them occurring in the city of Surgut, hosting another major Russian oil producer, Surgutneftegaz. Out of about 5000 cases in the region, almost half of them fall for the city and large Surgut district around it.

Local news reports said that Surgut mayor Vadim Shuvalov has also been tested positive for Covid-19.

On bright side, a governor of the Sakha-Yakutia region in East Siberia, Aysen Nikolayev said that no new cases of Covid-19 were reported on the Chayanda gas field, operated by state controlled gas monopoly Gazprom, following the cancellation of quarantine measures at this location earlier in June.

Over 320 shift workers, employed mainly by building contractors, are due to arrive to the Chayanda field before end of June.

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