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.