Coronavirus creates repair headache for oil and gas industry

(EurActiv, 19 May 2020) The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted maintenance at oil and gas projects and refineries from Russia’s Far East to the coast of Canada, storing up problems for an industry already reeling from slumping prices, analysts say.

Lockdowns to stop the spread of COVID-19, the flu-like infection caused by the virus, have snarled the supply of spare parts and have prevented maintenance workers from doing their job.

Regular repairs are needed to keep wells pumping, pipelines and refineries functioning and ships moving. Without maintenance, the risk of glitches or unplanned outages increases and delays risk driving up the cost of work later – partly because there will be a rush to do maintenance when lockdowns ease, and partly because plants have lost the optimal timing and weather for work during the northern hemisphere spring.

“When the virus and the quarantine measures have been eased and it is safe to get back to work, it doesn’t mean the same work can be done with the same intensity because the weather windows could be missed and that can push maintenance even to the next year,” said Matthew Fitzsimmons, Vice President of the Oilfield Service team at research firm Rystad.

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EurActiv, 19 May 2020: Coronavirus creates repair headache for oil and gas industry