Australia’s offshore regulator will be closing its offices next week, with all staff to work remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety & Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema) confirmed Thursday all staff would be working remotely from 23 March, until further notice, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Nopsema is taking action to ensure that our important role as the offshore energy regulator continues effectively as the Covid-19 situation unfolds. These actions are being guided by the specific needs and characteristics of the offshore industry and advice from government,” the regulator said in a statement.

Working remotely

“Nopsema recognises the threats presented by Covid-19 to the offshore industry, our staff, and the broader community. In recognition of these threats, Nopsema is transitioning our workforce to operate remotely in a manner that will ensure sustainable delivery of regulatory services in the short and longer terms.”

Nopsema added that it was confident it had the capacity to still provide all required regulatory support and to continue its regulatory operations.

It said staff and inspectors would still be contactable and would continue to engage with duty holders and other stakeholders through traditional means, together with teleconferencing and “other tools” in place of face-to-face meetings.

It also advised stakeholders to continue to liaise with their focal point inspector, while its incident notification line would continue to operate 24 hours a day.

Australia, as of Thursday, has 687 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and six people have died as a result of the outbreak.