Prepare pandemic plans, oil industry hears


Norwegian oil companies have been instructed to ready their “pandemic plans” for personnel going offshore or arriving from overseas missions, it was understood Monday.

Surgical masks are to be donned by helicopter pilots fetching suspected swine flu pasients from oil their rigs and platforms. The aircraft are not to carry anyone by the flu-struck.

Ill-looking offshore crew are to be isolated and given a mask, ditto the nurses and doctors looking after them.

The precautionary “mobilization” in Norway is in-line with actions being taken by other countries, including those where swine-flu — a combination of bird, pig and human viruses — has already spread. “Oil nation” Canada and others have already started screening and isolating those travelling home from Mexico, as with oilfield experts.

In the case of a global pandemic involving the flu strain, Norwegian planning envisions minimal travel to offshore installations, the Norwegian Oil Industry Association said in a special communique.

“It is the (oil company’s) responsibility to establish an internal control system” using guidelines set out by the World Health Organization. The WHO warns swine flu is at Phase 3 of five stages before an uncontrolled global pandemic of the disease is upon us.

“Colleagues that share a cabin with a patient and have slept in the same place … or spent four hours or more in the same room as the pasient up to and including a day before the illnesses breakout” are also to be treated with either oseltamivir, an anti-viral medicine, or anti-biotics, according to the Association’s instructions.

Offshore installations are being told to have a cure of 10 tablets on hand for at least 25 percent of the people onboard an oil platform or rig.


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