Equinor (Statoil) has reduced its Grand Bahama workforce by 15, according to a statement from the company.
The oil storage and transshipment facility in East Grand Bahama, which employs a large number of Bahamians was slowly recovering from an oil spill back in September of last year, 2019, as a result of heavy wind, and record level storm surge due to Hurricane Dorian.
However, with the now worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted economies, a major national issue, officials say that as a result of ongoing challenges, Equinor South Riding Point has been forced to reduce its workforce by 15 in Grand Bahama.
“All the required protocol have been addressed. This is a tough situation for the company and employees. We expect operations to resume sometime next year.
“Equinor remains committed to doing business in The Bahamas and is ever grateful for the invaluable contributions related to a dedicated and talented Bahamian team,” the release read.
Back in January of this year, the company was preparing for its next phase – returning to operations after a lengthy clean-up exercise at the plant site.
An update from Equinor officials revealed that the South Riding Point terminal stored a total of 1,870 million barrels of oil when Hurricane Dorian struck.
“The new surveys confirm that 1,815 million barrels of oil are still intact in the tanks at the terminal. That means 55,000 barrels is the updated volume estimate for the spill. Most of the spilled volumes were within or near the terminal area.
“More than 50,000 barrels of oil have already been recovered. The calculation of oil spilled versus oil recovered will likely never fully match as the collected oil also will contain water.
“Equinor is committed to cleaning up after the incident. Currently, more than 350 responders from 14 nations – including more than 100 responders from the Bahamas – are working on the recovery operations. There have been no work-related incidents.
“The clean-up operations have expanded to the forest areas north-east of the terminal. Specially trained teams have started the clean-up work in the most impacted part of the forest, supported by the Shoreline Clean-up and Assessment Technique (SCAT) team and safety experts. Equinor’s plan is to have four teams consisting of around 100 persons involved in the forest clean up.”
The release continued: “The remaining oil stored in the tanks at the Equinor South Riding Point terminal have been safely exported and work is now ongoing to fully assess the technical status of the terminal and its facilities. New tests of the groundwater around the terminal continue to show no contamination from the oil spill.
“Following the completion of the recovery of the free oil at and around the terminal, the remaining clean-up of the oil in the forest north-east of the terminal will be completed. This work will have to be done manually and will continue towards the summer of 2020.”