Tanzania-focused Orca Exploration is taking swift action to protect employees' health due to the global spread of the deadly coronavirus, Covid-19.

The company on Friday announced moves to mitigate the impact of the virus on production and protect the health of its employees in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam and on its Songo Songo gas, close to the Mozambique border.

Three cases of Covid-19 are confirmed in the country — all foreign nationals returning from Europe — raising the possibility that Tanzania may restrict entry from virus-hit countries and even enforce quarantine, Orca said.

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Orca and its local subsidiary PanAfrican Energy have undertaken rigorous sanitisation of all work areas and held medical briefings for staff, curtailing non-essential face-to-face meetings.

Orca will require staff returning from affected countries to self-isolate for seven days, extendable to two weeks if they begin to show symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

“Operational staff on Songo Songo Island (SSI) rotate every four weeks and this provides in-built cover should some employees contract the virus.

"Contingency planning means we identify company employees and Tanzanian contractors who can fill in for the personnel required to self-isolate.”

A cloud-based IT systems allow remote working with internet access provided to key staff.

“The debottlenecking of the flowline system, expected to increase production capacity by 10 million cubic feet per day, is in process and we have secured the requisite equipment for this project.”

A land rig is sought for workovers during the second half of 2020 which will be managed in conjunction with “government directives at that time” while talks continue on the engineering, procurement and construction contract for installing SSI compression by end-2021.

Compression is needed to avoid production loss in the Songas gas processing and pipeline as field pressure declines.

"We do not envisage any delay to this projec," Orca said in its statement, signed by chief executive Nigel Friend and chief financial officer Blaine Karst.

The statement notes that the declining oil price has knocked revenues by 5% as the bulk of Orca’s produced is sold at fixed prices.