In the interests of ensuring the health and safety of its employees, and in order to ensure its upstream facilities remain in continuous operation, Gazprom Neft has set up more than 100 “buffer zones” throughout its upstream production areas,* providing COVID-19 testing and temporary isolation for personnel going on-shift.
These buffer zones together currently have capacity for more than 20,000 people, which covers all of the company’s upstream businesses’ current needs. Personnel are tested twice while in isolation, with results being sent to one of 19 certified laboratories. Online education and training programmes are being put in place for employees while in isolation, as well as help in maintaining physical fitness and activity.
Establishing these buffer zones concurrently with mass preventative COVID-19 testing forms part of an integrated strategy to ensure “clean” shifts throughout the company’s upstream assets, with only employees testing negative allowed to leave for fields. More than 100,000 tests have been conducted in total, throughout 11 constituent entities of the Russian Federation, as well as at company facilities in Serbia and Iraq.
On-shift scheduling has been adjusted in order to maintain availability at buffer zones. Optimum shift durations have also been set, currently running at 60 to 90 days.
A further barrier against the spread of infection has been the introduction of interchangeable shift systems at key oil production facilities. Specially created “A” and “B” shift teams ensure continuous production, with the two groups managing shift handovers remotely, never crossing over with each other, and with external contacts being kept to a minimum. This kind of scheduling is being used not just for employees at production facilities, but also for plants’ administrative and managerial personnel. It also allows complete interchangeability in the event of a shift team member falling ill, and their entire contact group being quarantined.
“Employee safety has always been one of our key priorities. Which is why we began to put barriers in place to combat the virus spreading at Gazprom Neft assets, straight away. The first stage involved the mass-testing of employees throughout our upstream assets and contracting organisations, identifying all instances of infection. The next job was to contain the virus while new teams were going on-shift. To do this, we had to do a great deal of systematic work and organise special buffer zones — which became yet another barrier against the spread of COVID-19 — in a very short period of time. I would like to thank Dmitry Artyukhov (Governor of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug), Alexander Moor (Governor of the Tyumen Oblast), and Natalya Komarova (Governor of the Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Okrug), in particular, for their effective engagement and support for all of our initiatives. We value our collaboration with all of them, and our mutual solidarity in our fight against the virus, very highly.”Vadim Yakovlev Deputy Chairman of the Management Board and Deputy CEO for Upstream
* A “buffer zone” is a building or room made available for testing and monitoring the health and condition of people quarantined there, or awaiting test results, prior to their going straight out to oilfields. Such buffer zones are supplied with food, serviced and disinfected while ensuring maximum isolation from any engagement with external contacts.
Gazprom Neft’s “ANTIVIRUS” initiative is an integrated programme directed at combatting the spread of COVID-19, involving a range of initiatives including providing free materials and resources to medical services, emergency services employees and voluntary organisations, wherever the company operates. Gazprom Neft is providing fuel, protective equipment and PPE to medical agencies, as well as offering concessionary payment terms to transport companies and SMEs.
Within the Gazprom Neft group of companies the “Antivirus” programme represents a system of barriers — including technical and organisational initiatives — designed to combat the spread of COVID-19. Crew turnarounds at remote fields have been extended to 90 days, and “buffer zones” put in place for employees waiting to go on-shift, where they are placed under medical care before flying out to fields.
Part of the Gazprom Neft workforce was transferred to remote working (working from home) with effect from 19 March, with additional corporate services — including “remote office” digital technologies — being launched and employees offered greater scope for using specialist software allowing them to work full-time, from home.