Chevron moves to 3-on, 3-off rota for offshore energy workers amid union safety fears

Oil worker training skills general photo ScotentBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

Chevron has confirmed that it will be switching its offshore workers to a three weeks on, three weeks off rota despite protests from offshore unions.

This moves comes after similar moves across the sector by offshore companies –  including Shell, Petrofac, CNR, Apache, and BP – and will come into effect in January 2016 across the whole of Chevron’s UK assets.

A spokesman for Chevron said: “In order to be competitive for the long term in the North Sea, we have identified opportunities for improving efficiency and effectiveness in our offshore operations.

“As part of this, Chevron has advised its offshore workforce of the intention to centralise its maintenance management structure. To enable this change, Chevron is moving to a three weeks on, three weeks off work rotation for the offshore workforce.”

There have been some outspoken critics of the three on three off system citing safety concerns, though Chevron has said that they will remain committed to safe and reliable operations.

A spokesman of a union representing UK offshore workers said: “This is clearly wrong. For years this has been deemed unsafe by all sides. Weather effects movement of workers around the UK waters a great deal. It is not unheard of for workers to do an extra week due to bad weather stopping helicopter flights.

“The third week was always always seen as a bit of a contingency. The change to offshore workers’ rotation will undoubtedly result in workers working 28 days of 12 hour day shifts, in what is a dangerous environment.

“This cannot be right. These same operators haven’t changed the shift patterns on their assets in Norwegian waters, who are on a two on four off rotation. In some instances, the different between an operators assets on either side of the international boundary is merely a few miles.

“Our main concern is the safety of our members. Only time will tell if the increased shift patterns bring a greater number of incidences”

Currently Chevron are sole operators of the Alba, Captain and Erskine fields and joint operators of the Britanian field. The company also has interests in five other offshore operations within the UK.

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