Petrobras Faces Virus Outbreak Offshore

(Bloomberg, 1.May.2020) — Petrobras, the Brazilian producer tapping some of the largest offshore oil finds this century, is confronting a Covid-19 outbreak in exploration platforms as the pandemic gains speed in the country.

At the Xareu exploration project off the coast of Ceara, 42 out of 45 employees at two platforms tested positive and were transferred to a hotel to stay in isolation, the FUP federation of oil-worker unions said on its website Tuesday. Petrobras didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Xareu.

The Rio de Janeiro-based state-controlled producer has the world’s largest fleet of deep-water production tankers, where workers operate in close conditions, similar to cruise ships that suffered outbreaks at the beginning of the pandemic. Brazil, which has the most cases in Latin America, has also suffered outbreaks at meat-packing and poultry facilities.

The company has implemented fast testing before dispatching offshore oil workers. On Tuesday it said it has carried out more than 8,000 Covid-19 tests to date among staff and contractors, and was one of the first Brazilian companies to carry out testing on a large scale.

— By Peter Millard

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