Flattening the curve – How oil and gas is contributing to the global COVID-19 battle

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Sharing inspiring stories from across the sector

The effect of COVID-19 – combined with a price war between China and Saudi Arabia – on the oil price during the past weeks has had a sobering effect on industry veterans and general consumers alike. However, whilst making difficult decisions and sweeping cutbacks, hydrocarbons companies have also been doing their part to flatten the curve of infections worldwide and relieve hardship for affected communities.

To celebrate this, AOW has compiled a list of the most inspiring stories we’ve seen from the sector this week:

INEOS builds hand sanitizer plant in just ten days

INEOS, one of the world’s largest oil, gas and petrochemicals companies, gave itself just ten days to build a hand sanitiser plant near Middlesbrough, UK and has started producing 1 million hand sanitisers per month. Two further plants are already being planned in France and Germany with similarly rapid start-up timeframes.
INEOS is the leading European producer of the two key raw materials needed for sanitisers – isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol. The company is already running these plants flat out and have been diverting more of this product to essential medical use including in the new INEOS factories.

Oil and gas-derived products are essential to the production of essential healthcare products from rubber gloves, to PVC saline drips, syringes, ventilators and medical tubing. Petrochemicals produce the raw materials for soap, phenol for medicines such as aspirin and paracetamol, and acetonitrile is being used in pharmaceutical analysis essential in procedures necessary to find a vaccine.

Kenya distributes free hand sanitizer

Ins Africa, the oil and gas sector has too begun to use its resources for the production and distribution of hand sanitizer. The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has partnered with several private and public sector players to donate 130,000 litres of free hand sanitizer to citizens.

ExxonMobil develops multi-use PPE for clinical settings

ExxonMobil is applying its deep knowledge and experience with polymer-based technologies to facilitate development and production of innovative safety equipment that can be sterilized and worn multiple times.
Together with the Global Center for Medical Innovation, the supermajor has initiated multi-sector and joint development projects to rapidly redesign and manufacture reusable personal protection equipment for health care workers, such as face shields and masks, of which there is currently a global shortage. 

BP delivers water to Mauritanian town

The Mauritanian river island of Ndiago normally relies on clean water brought daily from Senegal. After COVID-19 forced the Mauritanian government to shut its border with Senegal, BP and its partners identified a temporary solution. The team repaired an old water tank nearby, then organised canoes to transport water from the tank across the river to Ndiago and made sure the water reached communities in need.

This is just one of many positive initiatives BP has put in place worldwide recently. From 21st March until the end of April, BP has offered to supply free fuel to the UK emergency vehicles.

Total supplies French hospitals with fuel vouchers

In a similar move to BP, Total has decided to support French healthcare staff by supplying them with fuel for their personal travel. In consultation with France’s health authorities, Total will provide hospitals with gasoline vouchers worth up to €50 million that can be used at Total stations.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO, commented, “In this period of crisis, Total’s teams remain mobilized to enable French people to make all their necessary travel arrangements. With its nationwide network, Total is working alongside those who are fighting the epidemic everywhere. Which is why the Group has decided to make this practical gesture of support for our hospital staff, who are working to ensure the health of patients.”

Chevron opens its chequebook to help those affected by the crisis

In recent week, the US Operator has contributed over $7 million to response efforts with direct donations to food banks, education and health services. It has also pledged to match qualifying donations to nonprofits made by employees and retirees two-to-one during the month of April.
Donations made so far by the company have included:

  • $500,000 to DonorsChoose to help teachers in the high-need schools
  • $430,000 to food banks in California and Texas
  • $70,000 to the United Way – a charity dedicated to improving the lives of families – in New Mexico

Baker Hughes uses idled 3D printers to make protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers

Oilfield service company and Africa Oil Week sponsor Baker Hughes has joined other manufacturers in using spare or idled machinery to make protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers.

The initiative spans the Texas-based company’s global operations. Printers are hard at work in Houston, Oklahoma City, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

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