JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — ConocoPhillips is demobilizing its rig fleet on Alaska’s North Slope to try to minimize the risk of workers contracting COVID-19, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
This means drill rigs will stop drilling and be placed in long-term storage, company spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said by email. Wells currently in production will continue producing oil, she said.
The effort is aimed at reducing the number of ConocoPhillips’ workers on the North Slope amid coronavirus concerns. Lowman said it’s unclear how long the measures will be in place.
ConocoPhillips is one of the major oil companies operating in Alaska.
Last week, BP Alaska announced one of its workers had tested positive and said it was eliminating nonessential activity on the North Slope.
Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, by email said the current situation — COVID-19 and low prices caused by tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia — has been a “double hit to the industry.”
“The current slowdowns are painful, especially for our friends and neighbors who have lost jobs, but necessary to weather this storm,” she said. “Once oil prices recover, we should see activity aimed at producing oil from exciting new oil fields return.”