Caspian Drilling Company works out Business Continuation Plan amid COVID-19

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Azerbaijan’s Caspian Drilling Company (CDC) has worked out Business Continuation Plan (BCP) amid COVID-19, CDC told Trend.

“We do feel strong impact on the company by the limits that were set due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our drilling rigs work offshore Caspian Sea and all personnel there works on rotation. This includes everybody on the rig, our local staff, expatriates, personnel of the companies providing different services and personnel of our client. We also understood that the rig should be considered as a closed area where people are in constant contact with each other, so in case if infection will get to the rig, it will be promptly spread among the crew. As many of positions on the rig requires unique set of experience specific to semisubmersible rigs, and considering that only CDC is operating semisubmersible rigs on Caspian Sea, we have to be really mindful to the rig crews wellbeing and not getting infected, as otherwise the operations might be interrupted due to the luck of replacement experts,” said the company.

After first signs that COVID-19 is present in Azerbaijan CDC team started to work on business Continuation Plan (BCP) in order to create company procedures that should help to mitigate the risk of infection.

“Our specialists worked around the clock and on weekends to create the plans and procedures to enable business continuity. For the head office, we limited number of the personnel who attend the office daily to absolutely necessary, all the others worked from home and were coming to the office when necessary. We purchased and distributed among our personnel personal protective supplies, such as facemasks, shoe covers, hand sanitizers and etc. No visitors were allowed to come to CDC office, no face-to-face meetings. All contacts and meetings were conducted by video conference calls including internal company meetings. Within our BCP and during video conferences with onshore staff and the rigs we always explained that such a measures implemented to make sure CDC staff and their families are taking all necessary action to prevent virus outbreak with accordance to the company created BCP and based on recommendations of the World Health Organization,” said the company.

These all helped to avoid person-to-person contacts, said CDC. “Strict rules were implemented on the entrance to the company, all personnel were supposed to go through infrared camera for the temperature check and record the temperature and absence of possible COVID symptoms into the logbook.”

“BCP regulated clearly how all personnel shall behave to exclude the risk of infection spread. Highly important that CDC managed to enforce our BCP among our client and service providers working for us and for our client, to make sure everybody involved is on the same page and following same established in our BCP rules. Sometimes it was not easy to get their understanding of the importance of taken measures and we had to push them to comply. We were first in our industry for this strict implementation of the preventive measures and we are proud that some other companies adopted our Business Continuation Plan. We followed the message delivered by President Ilham Aliyev, when he addressed to the nation and explained seriousness of situation and importance of prevention of the COVID-19 spread.

“To implement protective measures offshore was much more challenging tasks. We had to increase the crew change period from 14 days to 28, so people can have some two weeks rest at home after their 28 days offshore and then to go for two weeks quarantine before traveling back offshore. For this purpose, Company rented hotel in one of the Absheron suburbs, next to the seashore. The criteria for hotel were to have full control on the hotel territory and premises as well as to have outdoor space where people can walk. The hotel owners agreed for CDC to manage the hotel including cleaning, disinfection, connection to the internet, provision of the three daily meals etc. and they agreed to follow CDC rules stipulated in company created BCP.

“Special restrictions has been implemented to create, so called, clean zone on the hotel premises. Unlike in other quarantine facilities, we created the plan for the personnel to walk outside of the hotel building strictly keeping social distance and with accordance to created walking schedule, so not everyone be outside of their rooms at once. On day 12 in the quarantine all employees are tested for COVID-19, so only personnel with negative test results and without any possible COVID symptoms allowed to travel offshore. CDC rented and serviced the hotel for about 1.5 months and meanwhile we worked on the completion of construction of our own camp inside CDC Marine and Supply Base in Primorsk. In the beginning of May, the camp construction has been completed and we moved al the personnel from the hotel to CDC camp. The camp capacity is 160 beds; all rooms are for single occupation and have TV, connection to internet and their own shower and restrooms. Outside gym equipment was purchased and installed in dedicated camp area, keeping in mind recommended social distancing rules. Walking at the camp territory and exercising was also allowed with accordance to the time schedule for each room, unlike in other quarantine facilities and it’s really helped our personnel to survive 14 days isolation and keep good physical and mental health. Our camp is equipped with its own laundry and medical facilities, on duty medic is presented at the camp 24 hours and we have the ambulance on duty at the camp for any emergency hospital transportation needs. We are still following the BCP all that time and from time to time, we may make some additions or changes to the BCP accounting our “lessons learned”.

“We are doing all possible and impossible to keep our operations uninterrupted and effective, we started to implement some new technologies considering that our experts can travel offshore only after two weeks quarantine, but sometimes they might be required to support the rig maintenance or repairs urgently. We have purchased remote Wi-Fi explosion proved head mounted video cameras, upgraded Wi-Fi network on our rigs and have implemented remote control of the maintenance and repair works carried out on our rigs, which helps a lot to avoid unnecessary travel of our experts to the rigs and minimize potential virus exposure by the rig crews. After testing this new technology we also proposed to use the same to our client and subcontractors, so they can provide continuous support to the rigs.

“Frankly speaking, we did not hear any complaints from our employees, everybody understand this difficult situation and understand that keeping our operations safe and uninterrupted is the only way to survive during the crisis, to provide to their families and to continue contribute to Azerbaijani oil and gas industry.

“Our people understand extraordinary measures taken by President Ilham Aliyev and the government related to pandemic spread. So far, Azerbaijan managed to fight COVID-19 much better than many other countries and CDC is proud to be part of it. As of now, we did not have any single case of the virus on or rigs and we will put any effort needed to make our business running smoothly,” said the company.