PPL ensures business continuity despite COVID-19 crisis

KARACHI, September 2, 2020: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when most businesses in Pakistan suffered due to halt in operations, Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), achieved a milestone with nearly zero decline in production from operated assets to provide much-needed energy supplies for the nation. This was highly appreciated by industry partners and stakeholders. As such, the support from Board of Directors and Ministry for measures adopted by PPL enabled the company to perform optimally during this difficult time.

Despite a series of challenges posed by the pandemic, including 170 employees affected by COVID-19, most of whom have recovered now, besides 6 active cases, the company showed exemplary resilience to ensure business continuity without compromising on health and safety of its employees and contractors.  

“It is a story of great resolve, dedication and commitment of our staff and senior management to deal with extraordinary circumstances, never seen before. Keeping the momentum for business operations without compromising the health and safety of our staff and contractors was the real challenge. However, over the last five months, we have proven remarkable resilience in all facets of our operations, ensuring business continuity with no decline in our operated exploration and production activities,” highlights MD & CEO PPL Moin Raza Khan.  

This was made possible through the effective use of technology and communications tools with effective teamwork by staff, especially those directly responsible to provide relevant services, including Medical Services, Quality, Health, Safety and Environment, Administration, Human Resources, Information Technology and Procurement functions. 

Among significant efforts to ensure employee safety and continuity of business activities was pro-active preparation and implementation of COVID-19 best practices and Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) as well as strict vigilance at all locations. To this end, regular awareness sessions were conducted for staff who were kept abreast of COVID-19 developments. Wearing of masks and use of hand sanitizers was a norm along with regular disinfection of offices and practicing ‘social-distancing.’

For field staff, rotations were efficiently handled to ensure staff presence for smooth operations with implementation of COVID-19 SOPs. Most head office and Islamabad-based staff worked from home during the first few months with seamless 24/7 connectivity.

All internal and external meetings, including Board and relevant Committees as well as procurement committee meetings were held virtually using tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and BlueJeans. Besides, digital signatures ensured safe and secure approvals.

Procurement processes worked effectively in line with given procedures to ensure that critical business operations remained unhindered.

Given the challenges of remotely located 48 exploration assets and 59 fields and discoveries all over Pakistan, each with unique socio-cultural-political settings, it was not easy to implement new organizational norms to contain the spread of COVID-19, ensuring a  ‘new normal’. Besides, going virtual was a unique experience for most staff, who also faced power and connectivity issues. Nonetheless, staff stepped up to the challenge and delivered well beyond expectations. 

As a result, PPL was able to ensure continuous supply of hydrocarbons from its fields. However, due to low consumption of oil due to low demand nationwide, production of both oil and gas had to be curtailed across the country, mostly in partner-operated areas. 

Even so, PPL managed its production in such a way that a balance was created between both oil and gas production.