Oil companies are screening employees for fever before flying them up to Alaska’s North Slope

Pipelines lead to one of BP’s facilities on the North Slope. (Photo courtesy BP)

Alaska’s major oil companies are screening workers for fevers before they fly to remote operations on the North Slope, in an effort to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The companies met last week and agreed to start screening all of their workers when they check in in Anchorage, says Heidi Hedberg, Alaska’s public health director.

BP operates the North Slope’s largest oil field, Prudhoe Bay, and is conducting those screening measures, a spokeswoman says. Another major North Slope operator, ConocoPhillips, is checking passenger temperatures as they board planes headed north, a spokeswoman says.

The companies are also reviewing their contingency plans in the event a case is discovered on the North Slope.

The North Slope’s oil patch employs thousands of workers in an isolated area nearly 400 miles north of Fairbanks, the nearest big city. Most workers travel there by plane, and live and eat in shared spaces.

The major companies operating in the area have released few specifics about how they’re working to prevent a coronavirus case there, or how they’d respond if one was discovered. A BP spokeswoman said in an email last week that the company is closely monitoring the spread of the virus, along with the guidance from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both BP and ConocoPhillips say they’re prioritizing the safety and well-being of their employees.

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