Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov talks about the company’s response to COVID-19
To our colleagues, clients and partners —
We are all going through a difficult time right now. The spreading of the COVID-19 coronavirus means our normal way of life has been disrupted, throughout the entire world. In many countries people, healthcare systems — and the entire global economy — are being seriously tested.
In this unprecedented environment, Gazprom Neft’s overriding priorities are to protect our employees, partners and clients from the spread of the virus; to ensure the continuity of all production processes; and to maintain our financial stability and the company’s continued development.
On measures to protect Gazprom Neft from coronavirus
Our company has put in place a cohesive and integrated strategy to protect against COVID-19, based on identifying key risks and putting barriers in place to prevent the virus spreading. The most important element of what we are calling our “Antivirus” system is mass screening those employees responsible for ensuring continuous production throughout our facilities. The first phase in this process has seen more than 50% of almost 80,000 company employees screened, in every location in which we have any industrial activity. We will be repeating this procedure regularly, and will be expanding the number of employees covered. Mass screening identifies those infected but displaying no outward symptoms, and means steps can be taken to quickly isolate and treat anyone infected, with entire contact groups being traced. The outcomes of screening are important not just for the company, but also for the locations in which we operate, since they help form a more complete picture of the number of cases, making it possible to fight the virus more effectively.
Special precautions are being taken throughout all oilfields and refining facilities. The continuous and uninterrupted operation of these is vital not just for specific locations, but for the Russian economy, as a whole. Our rotating crews have remained in place for 90 days: those who had been expecting to replace them have received standard advance payments, as they normally would. Nobody can now reach the company’s remote oil production facilities without first going through ‘buffer terminals’, and having doctors confirm they are healthy. Enhanced medical controls are also in place at industrial enterprises, with employees being provided with full personal protective equipment (PPE). Strategies for identifying and differentiating incoming personnel at businesses’ entry points are being utilised, together with contactless shift and crew handovers. All Gazprom Neft offices and industrial facilities are being disinfected regularly, antibacterial air re-circulators are being used, and air quality monitored. Contactless thermometers are being used to take temperatures at entrances to all enterprises and offices.
Special precautions to protect against the virus are also being taken throughout our filling stations, with employees working in full PPE, stations being regularly disinfected, and sales areas marked out to make sure social distancing is maintained.
All company employees who can work from home have been moved over to remote working. Our IT department has delivered a major increase in bandwidth for corporate email, as well as creating additional capacity for tens of thousands of remote connections. We are using a special digital “Mobile Feed” news service to keep employees informed of events at the company, day by day.
Fighting COVID-19 — what the company is doing to help
Concurrently with the anti-COVID-19 initiatives being put in place internally within the company, we are commencing deliveries of PPE and other protective equipment to doctors in hospitals and polyclinics throughout our most important industrial locations — in Yamal, the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, the Omsk, Tomsk and Yaroslavl Oblasts, and St Petersburg. More than 1.2 million masks and respirators, tens of thousands of respirators, gloves, visors, PPE glasses and hamzat suits, as well as antiseptics, will be sent to those doctors putting themselves at risk of infection every single day.
Gazprom Neft has been quick to start producing disinfectant solutions, using technologies recommended by the World Health Organisation. We will be using these throughout Gazprom Neft Group businesses, as well as delivering them to key social facilities throughout the locations in which we operate.
Our company has begun supplying fuel — free of charge — to medical facilities in the Siberian cities of Omsk, Noyabrsk and Muravlenko. We are offering a free “payment holiday” to small businesses, agricultural enterprises, taxi fleets and numerous other corporate clients", in the short term. Gazprom Neft has also joined the #мывместе (#InItTogether) movement, and has, already, made 1,000 cards for free fuel at our filling stations available to volunteers helping the elderly. And those EMERCOM employees and doctors to whom we are all so grateful for their truly heroic work can now get a free takeaway coffee at any filling station in the Gazprom Neft network.
Regarding the situation on the oil market
Quite apart from this, I’d like to talk a bit about the situation on the oil market. It is already becoming obvious that the spread of coronavirus has done serious damage to the Russian and the global economy. Including the oil industry. When entire countries are going into quarantine, there’s going to be a major drop in demand for hydrocarbons, and for the products refined from these. And if we’re talking about prices, then market psychology is playing no small role here — living up to expectations, as always.
It’s difficult to make any predictions as to how the situation will develop, going forward. We think that the OPEC+ deal, and the various countries joining it, will mean the situation can stabilise. Coordinated cuts in overall global production are the only real response to falling demand.
I should stress that Gazprom Neft is in good shape, and ready for any market developments. We have arrived at this crisis period financially secure, with a low debt burden. Major new projects have yet to go into active development — which gives us some flexibility in decision making. Obviously, the company will have to be more conservative, reassessing all plans, and rescheduling specific projects. But the situation does not affect Gazprom Neft’s strategic objectives to 2030.
Our work is focussed not on the current market situation, but on the long term. The company will continue its active, innovation-driven development in working with hard-to-recover reserves. The spread of coronavirus has, yet again, confirmed the correctness of our strategic bet on digital technologies, which are making it possible to manage many processes remotely, improving safety in doing so.
I am confident that we will come out of the current situation a still more effective and crisis-resistant company. Current events are proving what a close-knit team we are. Our company is made up of a team of people undaunted by difficulties — and, in fact, able to work with them in supporting our partners and clients. And I am glad to be part of the Gazprom Neft team.
There are, now, a multitude of predictions as to the consequences of this virus, and how long it will last. Yes, the world around us has changed, radically. But how we ourselves change — that’s down to us. Unfortunately, the virus is still spreading, in Russia and in many countries worldwide. So I want to appeal to anyone visiting our company’s website, once again. Stay home, if you can. Stay positive. And look after yourselves.