Prudhoe Bay worker tests positive for COVID-19, BP says

BP’s operations center at Prudhoe Bay. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Oil and gas company BP confirmed Tuesday that a worker at Prudhoe Bay has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It’s the first confirmed case of the illness at the massive oil field in northern Alaska, where many workers live in close quarters.

BP is the operator of the field.

“BP is following procedures and protocols to minimize the risk of COVID19 and ensure the safety of our people. We are eliminating all non-essential activity on the slope,” said a statement from the company. “The safety and wellbeing of staff and contractors and respect for the communities in which we operate is our highest priority.”

A BP spokesperson did not immediately respond to additional questions. It’s unclear where the employee is from, what condition the employee is in and whether they have exposed others.

The company also did not provide specifics about which work activities qualify as essential.

BP previously said it has deployed new measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on the Slope. Those include checking employees for fevers, extending many workers’ shifts to at least three weeks and increasing cleaning. It also said its out-of-state workers will self-quarantine for two weeks in Alaska before flying to the Slope.

This story has been updated.


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