COVID-19 hits home: ConocoPhillips demobilizes rig fleet work on Slope



ConocoPhillips announced Tuesday that due to the heightened COVID-19 risk to its North Slope workforce, the company will significantly reduce the number of personnel on the Slope in a managed fashion.

“To do this, we are making the difficult decision to demobilize our rig fleet.  Given the high degree of uncertainty on how the situation plays out, we can’t say how long these measures will be in place,” said the official statement from ConocoPhillips.

Impacted will be the rig fleet, including exploration and development drilling rigs, and most likely will not impact production in 2020.

The announcement will impact many of oil field contractors, and a memo was issued by Doyon Drilling Inc., describing major impacts to the company.

“Today we were informed that CPA has made a decision to demobilize their rig fleet. This decision was made to protect the health and wellbeing of the workforce and their families to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This impact will be severely felt by DDI Employees and Alaskans,” said a memo from Ron Wilson, president and general manager of Doyon Drilling.

“We understand that this volatile environment and our Operator’s directive is very concerning to our employees. We are unable to predict how long it will take for the COVID-19 virus or the low prices to pass. In the meantime, we will demobilize our rigs in a safe and effective manner to ensure we are in position to resume drilling operations upon CPAI directive,” he wrote.

ConocoPhillips is one of the big three oil producers in Alaska, along with BP and ExxonMobil.


  1. Now all the leftists need to do to completely destroy the oil industry in Alaska while ‘no one is looking’, is succeed in the “fair share” tax on oil companies, that is anything but “fair” and Alaska’s “share” will dwindle to a memory of years gone by. The words of Rahm Emanuel, “never let a crisis go to waste”, will ring pretty hollow with a year or two of little or no oil revenue for Alaska. Leftists will continue to ignore the axiom of: “when you find yourself in a hole, quit digging”. By the time they see the error of their ways (if ever), it may be too late. Dumb and dumber leftists will turn Alaska into ‘broke and broker’ if they keep the reins. Then the left will probably perform an “exodus” on Alaska, with nothing left to plunder and them being allergic to real work. If that’s what it takes to save Alaska from the left, I guess that will be the karma that “begets” for actions that have taken place for the recent few years and are doing so right now.

  2. Greg,
    Just so you know, Rahm Emanuel was not the first person to use that phrase.
    The words can be traced back at least to Niccolo Machiavelli who wrote, “Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis.” 
    I believe Winston Churchill also used it a bunch himself while in office.
    Looking at the bailout package offered to the oil industry, I would say the crisis is far from over as Saudi Arabia continues their economic attack on shale oil with no profit for Alaskan crude in the near future.
    Instead of bailing out a failing economy we should transition into the 21st century with renewable energy and cleaner forms of transportation but instead the GOP is using this “crisis” to rollback EPA emission regulations and pushing through projects like the Keystone XL?

    • Haha, Greg, There’s a pretty good Country & Western song by Rodney Atkins with that title. No idea it came from a Winston Churchill quote.

  3. We’ll be lucky to see much activity on the slope now and in the future, Wuhan virus or not. With the extra low prices for oil right now, throw in the “fair share tax” (kill the goose that lays that proverbial egg) and those oil companies will not likely come back to Alaska until the leftists are gone and fiscal sanity again takes root in our state. The greed of the left will drive out any realistic business opportunities through taxes, regulation and general hostility to business (unless they own it). Tourism is a very fragile and finite income stream, as we are witnessing. Fishing is on a downward trend with markets (and fish) disappearing. Mining and mineral development is being trashed by the left at every opportunity. We don’t have a large manufacturing base. Not many options left. We lose the oil companies and it won’t be pretty. Not to be overly pessimistic but reality is reality. Maybe conservative voters will find reason to vote. Our only hope to “Make Alaska Great Again”.

    • Dude… they’re just temporarily suspending exploration. It’s not like they’re shaking the last few drops off the end of the pipe and shutting the valves.


      • Mabel,
        The “fair share tax” is up for a vote. Anyone who supports that is taking a huge gamble on Alaska’s future. Vote it in and see what happens.

    • Ben, maybe this would be a chance for Alaska to get into manufacturing while everyone is mad that China makes 90% of our pharmaceuticals? We could really become the drug kings then!

  4. This could be what the future will look like if the left keeps up their money grabbing ways. It this point the lazy conservatives better wake up or be prepared to move out of state with the left.

  5. The goal of the Socialist Left is to shut down all industrial development in the Great State of Alaska and turn it into a giant National Park. Oil companies will be the first to go and then the rest. The Leftist in the lower 48 will not be affected monetarily and the Socialists living here now will be long gone before things get extremely bad. This is all in the name of climate change and saving the planet. When all is said and done they will just find someone or something else to blame for their destruction and will celebrate the victory. Alaska is at war with a Pandemic, collapse in oil prices worse than the 1980’s , tourism and cruise ships abruptly halted, airlines with minimum service for a state with few roads, and people afraid to even leave their homes. This is just a taste of Socialism and things to come. How’s it working for you so far?

  6. Not so sure environmentalists are chiefly concerned about the environment when they’d rather Canadian crude was shipped by rail than by pipeline. I hope the energy companies/contractors here can tough it out – the less we are dependent on Saudi oil the better, as it isn’t just oil they’re exporting around the world.

Comments are closed.