Nigeria’s petroleum regulator has instructed oil and gas companies to reduce their offshore workforce, media reports said. Those companies are expected to initiate 28-day staff rotations to curb the coronavirus spread.
Health experts fear that the Cover-19 outbreak in Africa might be huge as the country has 200 million inhabitants. Nigeria is trying to protect its oil industry which brings 90 percent of foreign exchange. The sharp drop in oil prices since the start of the year has affected the country’s domestic industry and the government has urged oil companies to appropriately plan their spending.
Sarki Auwalu, director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, said in a statement that non-essential staff working in offshore and remote areas should withdraw immediately.
Currently, the country has confirmed 97 positive cases. With that, it has shut international airports and all land borders. In addition, in River State, where Port Harcourt serves as the oil hub of Nigeria, has closed its borders to human movement this week.
The country has called for private companies to voluntarily contribute toward the $330 million coronavirus fund. Governor Godwin Emefiele told the media, “So far, the federal government has made giant strides in the fight but it is clear that the private sector needs to step in and support efforts already being made. To procure all needed equipment, material, and all infrastructure needed to fight this pandemic, over 120 billion naira needs to be raised.
State oil company NNPC has pledged $30 million with the help of 33 oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Oando, Lek oil and Seplat to fight the coronavirus pandemic, media reports said.