Self-isolation for workers on North Cormorant platform due to Covid-19 cases

Abu Dhabi-based oil and gas company TAQA, with assets in the UK North Sea, has flown some of its workers from the North Cormorant platform to shore due to close contact with workers identified as having Covid-19 while others are self-isolating and waiting to be evacuated once the weather permits.

North Cormorant platform - TAQA
North Cormorant platform; Source: TAQA

A spokesperson for TAQA told Offshore Energy on Monday that one person tested positive for Covid-19 via routine screening at a hospital in Norway on 5 July, following a medical evacuation from the North Cormorant platform for an unrelated medical condition. The individual was not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms.

The spokesperson further stated that nine people who were considered to have come into close contact with the individual were identified and have since been in isolation. Eight have been flown onshore on 10 July, with the remaining individual due to be flown onshore as soon as possible due to weather delays.

In addition, TAQA said that an unrelated second person tested positive for Covid-19 on 9 July, following a negative pre-mobilisation Covid-19 test before onward travel to North Cormorant via Shetland.

However, due to overnight weather delays in Shetland and in accordance with TAQA’s Covid-19 procedures, the individual required retesting at TAQA’s Aberdeen Covid-19 testing facility before proceeding offshore. On return to Aberdeen, the individual became symptomatic and subsequently tested positive via an official NHS test.

As a result, nine people were identified as coming into close contact with the second individual. They have been notified and appropriate action has been taken to self-isolate and bring them onshore. Due to weather delays, all nine individuals are due to be flown onshore as soon as possible.

TAQA carries out pre-mobilisation testing for everyone travelling offshore and testing is carried out on the platforms for anyone displaying Covid-19 symptoms.

“We have clear procedures in place for handling suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 and we continue to work with the relevant authorities and agencies to assess and respond to any Covid-19 related situation in line with UK Government and Health Protection Scotland guidelines”, the company concluded.

The North Cormorant platform is located in Block 211/21a in the UK Northern North Sea. The field was discovered in May 1974 by Shell / Esso with the platform installed in 1981 and production starting in February 1982.

TAQA filed its decommissioning programs for the Tern and North Cormorant platform topsides to the UK authorities about a year ago and received approval for the plans In November 2020. Under these plans, the topsides of both these platforms will be removed onshore for reuse, recycling or disposal.

The execution window for both platform topsides decommissioning is at the earliest possible date in 2024 through to project completion in 2028. The cessation of production on the North Cormorant is currently anticipated to be in 4Q 2023.

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Recently, a Shell-operated hub in the North Sea, the Shearwater, has also been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Namely, an outbreak of Covid-19 on the Safe Zephyrus flotel, which is providing accommodation services on the Shearwater field, forced Shell to evacuate 85 workers

All positive cases were flown to shore as well as 70 others identified as close contacts. The production from the field was not impacted.