By John Donovan
I received an email from a regular contributor at noon today advising that “Ebola has reached Port Harcourt now. No doubt you are aware Shell has ‘some’ operations there…”
The contact also supplied a BBC News article: Ebola spreads to Nigeria oil hub Port Harcourt
Before I had time to decide whether to comment, Reuters published an article “Doctor dies of Ebola in Nigeria’s oil hub Port Harcourt”
Port Harcourt lies at the heart of Nigeria’s two million barrels per day oil industry, Africa’s biggest, and is a hub for expatriate workers in major international oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, ENI, Total and Exxonmobil.
A spokesman for leading operator Royal Dutch Shell in London said the firm was “monitoring the Ebola outbreak very closely, and liaising with health authorities on the steps being taken to contain the disease.” The only actions he wished to make public were a “health education campaign for staff and contractors.” Shell also said it had advised against non-essential travel to Nigeria.
Shell employees in Nigeria already had to worry about the prospect of losing their jobs as a result of Shell’s asset firesale plans. They now also have to worry about Ebola.