In a bid to shield the energy industry and its employees from the spread of coronavirus, Russian oil and gas workers in the Arctic Yamal peninsula could see their shifts extended by months, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The region’s governor recommended in an order published on Tuesday that the shifts of those currently working in the region be extended, while those not working have their time off lengthened to reduce the chances of infection.
Some of Russia’s largest companies operate in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region, located in western Siberia, including gas giant Gazprom and its oil subsidiary Gazprom Neft, as well as private gas producer Novatek.
Russia has reported 114 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 26 different regions of the country, but none in Yamal-Nenets, although those suspected of having come into contact with the virus who visit plants and factories there are tested, the region’s governor Dmitry Artyukhov said.
“This is an effective measure which will allow everyone to take the necessary time to analyze the situation and prevent the influx of potentially sick employees,” Artyukhov said.
Artyukhov said a number of companies on the peninsula had already switched to three-month-long shifts. “I know that such decisions have not yet been taken everywhere. I hope that this will be considered promptly,” he added.
Shift work in Russia does not usually last longer than one month and extensions have to be agreed with employees.