Coronavirus Case Confirmed on Equinor's Offshore Project in Norway

The Martin Linge platform in the North Sea. (Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Woldcam - Equinor ASA)
The Martin Linge platform in the North Sea. (Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Woldcam - Equinor ASA)

One person has tested positive on the coronavirus at Equinor's Martin Linge offshore platform in the Norwegian Part of the North Sea.

"The person is not seriously ill. Equinor is in dialogue with the Norwegian health authorities about further measures," Equinor said Wednesday.

"The infected person has been in isolation in his cabin since 9 March. Measures to prevent further contamination for offshore installations have been introduced," the company added.

According to Equinor, the decision on when the person will be brought to shore is yet to be made.

"The person arrived at the field just before noon on 4 March. The person had recently been to Austria. When Austria was listed as a high-risk destination, the person was quarantined on board and a test was conducted," Equinor said.

Tests have been conducted on two further persons at the field, who have also visited high-risk destinations, but the results of these tests are yet not available.

"Medical staff on board follows up all personnel and there are no additional persons with symptoms on board. The activity on the field will be reduced today. Personnel remains at the installations they are already located on." Equinor added.

The Martin Linge field is currently under construction and is planned to start production at the end of 2020. Equinor has previously targeted the start-up for the third quarter of 2020.

There are currently 776 persons offshore, working on the project and spread across three installations, Equinor said Wednesday.

According to a report on Tuesday by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, there were 277 confirmed coronavirus infections in Norway at the time of the report.

"The majority are either infected abroad or are close contacts to these cases. A total of 81 cases were infected in Norway. 73 of the cases are known to be close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case. For 8 of the cases infected in Norway, the source is not yet clarified. 193 cases were infected abroad and for 3 the place of infection is not yet clarified," the institute said.

To remind, flights were halted last week to and from Neptune Energy's Gjøa platform offshore Norway, on suspicions that a crewmember aboard had contracted coronavirus. The employee eventually tested negative.

In a statement on Wednesday, announcing the coronavirus case on Martin Linge, Equinor said it was implementing measures to prevent further contamination.

These include reduction of social gatherings, reduction of meetings, the introduction of larger distances between personnel in the canteen, and cleaning of selected common areas.

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