Ithaca Energy has restarted output at its FPF-1 production facility in the UK North Sea after it was shut in in mid-January after workers tested positive for Covid-19.
Ithaca, owned by Israel's Delek Group, confirmed a phased restart began on 1 February following a deep clean of the unit and the implementation of new precautions, including on-board testing.
“In response to crew members testing positive for coronavirus on the FPF-1 floating production facility last month we have reviewed our Covid-19 procedures, completed a deep clean of the FPF-1, implemented testing of those on board the installation, and increased cleaning schedules,” Ithaca said on Friday.
“We have also introduced pre-mobilisation testing for all Ithaca Energy-operated assets and this, together with the measures outlined above, enabled us to implement a phased and controlled process of increasing the number of personnel on board the FPF-1 and restart production on Monday 1 February.”
One worker was initially medically evacuated by helicopter on 19 January after displaying coronavirus symptoms and later tested positive onshore.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) later confirmed that 17 positive cases of Covid were confirmed in the outbreak.
This and other recent outbreaks on North Sea production facilities prompted Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), the North Sea industry’s main trade body, to issue a call for workers to be considered as a higher priority in the next phase of the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.
In November, Ithaca Energy and BP started production from the UK-supermajor's Vorlich field as a tie-back to the FPF-1.
The start-up was slightly later than previously expected due to measures taken to manage Covid-19 during the development phase last year. The field will produce about 20,000 barrels of oil per day at peak.