LNG Canada, CGL Caught in Covid-Related Work Order [UPDATE]
(Updates with comment from LNG Canada)
British Columbia’s provincial health officer on December 29 issued an order restricting re-mobilisation of on-site personnel at several major industrial projects in the province, including the LNG Canada site in Kitimat and the 670-km Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline project.
The order will affect how many workers will be allowed to return to the two projects as holiday-period furloughs come to an end in the New Year.
In November and December, both projects were hit by Covid-19 outbreaks. Some, like a November outbreak at the LNG Canada project site, have been cleared; others, including outbreaks impacting two CGL workforce accommodation lodges and an outbreak among Diversified Transportation employees serving the LNG Canada site, remain active.
The seasonal break, the health order says, offers an opportunity to “help break the cycle” of Covid infections associated with the industrial projects.
“A rapid return to full operating capacity on the part of large-scale industrial operations, with the attendant rapid return of large numbers of workers to the worksites and industrial camps, will likely further fuel and accelerate the cycle of transmission of Covid-19 among the workers and the surrounding communities,” the order says. “There is an immediate and urgent need for focused action to reduce the rate of the transmission of Covid-19 associated with the projects.”
The order sets the baseline worker complement at the LNG Canada site at 450 until January 6, 2021, at which time 400 can be added. By January 20, another 250 workers will be allowed on-site, while by late January or early to mid-February, LNG Canada will be able to bring the total to 1,100, pending review and approval of remobilisation plans by Dr Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer.
An LNG Canada spokesperson told NGW in an emailed statement that the order setting out the graduated remobilisation of workers allows JGC Fluor, its prime contractor, to progress seasonally-critical scopes at the project site, which prior to the seasonal slowdown counted a workforce of some 3,200.
“It’s important to note that the number of workers associated with the project fluctuates as work scopes progress, and that the number of workers on site on any given day is approximately one-third lower than the total number of people employed at the project, due to the rotational nature of work,” the statement said.
CGL, meanwhile, is working from a baseline of 400 workers across all eight spreads, but won’t be allowed to add any until February 1, 2021, at which time up to 600 can be added gradually until early to mid-February, again pending review and approval of the remobilisation plan.
“The workforce numbers on the Coastal GasLink project are already significantly reduced as a result of the slowdown for the holidays,” a CGL spokesperson told NGW in an email. “Per the details of the order, we are required to meet the limit of 400 workers by January 8. As such, we are currently working with our contractors and reviewing the order so that we can put together the best path forward for our project.”