A sudden pandemic swept the world in 2020, having a great impact on life safety, production and living of global people. As a subsidiary of China North Industries Corporation of China North Industries Group Corporation Limited, China ZhenHua Oil Holding Co., Ltd. of China North Industries Corporation (hereinafter referred to as "ZhenHua Oil") is committed to overseas oil and gas exploration, development and production, international trade, warehousing and transportation and other businesses. As the first Chinese-funded company to act as an oilfield operator in Egypt and the standing director unit of the Egyptian Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Egyptian NPIC Project Company of ZhenHua Oil will cooperate with the Egyptian government and the Chinese Embassy in Egypt for anti-pandemic work while strictly implementing the working policy of "early deployment, strict requirements, fortress construction and intrusion prevention" of the headquarters and ensuring to "grasp pandemic prevention and control and production and operation at the same time and attach sufficient importance to both", which has been praised by mainstream Egyptian media and the Embassy in Egypt through a letter. However, the arduousness of work task and the efforts of the Project Company can be seen completely from the only three letters from different phases.
The First One - "A Letter to Employees" by the Project General Manager
Egyptian NPIC Oil and Gas Project of ZhenHua Oil includes three oil and gas blocks, namely NWG, EG and AESW, with an annual oil and gas equivalent of 2.2 million tons. With Shell as the main project partner, the management team consists of Chinese team and local employees (including some employees from other countries) of ZhenHua Oil.
The Project Company actively implemented the instructions of the headquarters at the early stage of the outbreak in China, started the emergency response plan at the first time while suspending the movement of personnel, actively implemented pandemic prevention measures and reserved emergency materials. The Egyptian Ministry of Health announced the diagnosis of the first COVID-19 patient on February 14, 2020, and the field personnel of an oilfield in western Egypt were diagnosed again on March 1. At this time, the Egyptian NPIC Project had been pushed into the "frontal battlefield" of pandemic prevention and control.
However, unlike the tense atmosphere of "entire nation in arms" in China, local employees did not attach importance to the prevention and control at the first time due to the influence of customs (such as the cheek kissing of Arab national habits) and insufficient understanding of the harmfulness of viruses. Therefore, the Project Company specially invited Mohamed Hassan, an Egyptian medical expert, to hold a special lecture titled "COVID-19 Prevention" to introduce the COVID-19 characteristics, pathogenesis, incubation period, symptoms, transmission routes and effective prevention and control methods in detail, with special emphasis on observing doctor's advice, forming good health habits and reducing close contact.
The Project Company placed emphasis on the prevention and control management of offices and oilfield sites after beefing up the ideological consensus. The General Manager of the Project Company led the team in person, and the leader of HSSE, the General Manager and the Production Manager of the Joint Operation Company formed an inspection team to the desert oilfield site for inspection and supervision, clearly requiring the oilfield to carry out strict access control and the camp doctors to measure the body temperature of visitors and check the flu symptoms; daily disinfection should be adhered to, and hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipe should be provided in all eye-catching areas; all field personnel must wear masks... The inspection team held a pandemic prevention and production meeting with field personnel, clearly requiring to beef up contractor management and optimize shift mechanism. Those with flu symptoms must seek medical treatment and quarantine at the first time, and could return to work only after being confirmed to be cured by doctors. Meanwhile, all office areas were adjusted to ensure a safe distance of interval position more than 2 meters.
However, the difficulty of management and control for the Project Company did not lie in working hours and workplaces, but outside those - once employees were infected at home or when they went out, all the project work would be bound to fall short. Therefore, the Project Company sent A Letter to Employees from the Project General Manager to all employees, pointing out the danger of pandemic and the importance of prevention and control sincerely, providing process guidance on how to do a good job in prevention and control, especially explicitly requiring whereabouts of employees on and off duty, entering and leaving the office area, working and carrying out amateur activities and preventive measures in key links. Amid daily management, all personnel were required to measure their body temperature every day, and their physical condition, location, recent outgoing plan and itinerary were reported to HSSE Department for summary and examined and approved by the General Manager of the Project Company.
Egypt Oil & Gas and Petroleum Today, two mainstream media in Egypt, published front-page news to introduce the pandemic prevention and control experience of Egyptian NPIC Project Company of ZhenHua Oil on March 26, 2020, praising it as one of the first enterprises to take strict measures to respond to and support the pandemic prevention and control work of the Egyptian Government. The report also expressed strong interest in the Project Company's use of information tools to assist employees in telecommuting at home to reduce the risk of infection while introducing the experience of pandemic prevention.
The Second One - A Letter of Thanks from the Chinese Embassy in Egypt
The Chinese Embassy in Egypt issued the Explanation on the Dispensing of Anti-pandemic Drugs for Chinese-funded Enterprises in Egypt and A Letter of Thanks to all Chinese-funded enterprises and individuals in Egypt on June 18, thanking ZhenHua Oil and other enterprises for their contributions made to the import of pandemic prevention materials and drug donation.
Guided by ZhenHua Oil Headquarters, Egyptian NPIC Project Company simultaneously developed domestic and Egyptian resources. According to the pandemic spread trend, self-diagnosis and treatment equipment such as finger oximeter, sphygmomanometer, glucometer and emergency oxygen inhalation device were prepared on the basis of purchasing and reserving masks, ethanol for disinfection and temperature guns in the early stage. In the meantime, local employees were arranged to investigate the available hospital resources in Cairo, and the available ICU resources of private hospitals in emergency circumstances were locked through the medical insurance service providers of the Company. During the lecture on pandemic prevention knowledge by Academician Li Lanjuan and Dr. Zhang Wenhong arranged at the headquarters, experts suggested that taking Lianhua Qingwen Capsule and other drugs in the early COVID-19 could effectively improve and treat mild patients. However, the local anti-pandemic drugs that had been controlled by the government could not be obtained by individuals according to the investigation, and Chinese drugs could not be brought into Egypt due to the cancellation of international flights... The Project Company even contacted Egyptian drug importers to purchase drugs from China, but they were not allowed because of their unsuccessful registration in Egypt.
Although the Project Company learned from the Chinese Embassy in Egypt that Egypt agreed to import some drugs in the name of the Embassy on April 25, many Chinese enterprises in Egypt were also faced with the same dilemma. It's hoped that a competent Chinese enterprise could quickly organize group purchase, customs declaration and transportation to Egypt. As the standing director unit of the Egyptian Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Egyptian NPIC Project Company was the leader of organizing and liaising the pandemic prevention work of Egyptian Chinese-funded enterprises in New Cairo. In face of challenges, the Project Company volunteered to take the lead in organizing the whole process of drug import. It was finally determined that Lianhua Qingwen Capsule would be imported for 14 representative enterprises in Egypt, including State Grid, China National Building Materials Group, China XD Group, CATIC, Tianjin TEDA and KONKA by inquiring about the drug demand of each unit
In order to ensure the credibility of purchasing channels, reliable drugs and appropriate prices, the Project Company without experience in drug import and export directly contacted Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. through relevant channels on April 27, and explained the particularity, importance and urgency of such imported drugs. After learning that Chinese enterprises sticking to overseas work were facing difficulties, Yiling Pharmaceutical immediately undertook to fully cooperate in providing drugs with the latest production date and factory price and utilized its export qualification to provide all customs declaration documents, thus saving the process and time of seeking third-party trading companies for customs declaration. In order to complete the delivery before May 1, the Project Company assigned special personnel to keep an eye on it and successfully completed complicated formalities such as signing contracts, international transfer, applying to the embassy for issuing a letter of imported anti-pandemic drugs, contacting Sinotrans to book bellyhold cargo bays and entrusting customs declaration in Chengdu, and organizing all parties to provide customs declaration qualification documents. Various units were organized to complete the payment of customs declaration fees and freight within 2 hours, and the anti-pandemic drugs successfully arrived at Cairo International Airport in the early morning of May 15.
Upon the delivery of the drugs to Chinese-funded enterprises as quickly as possible through continuous communication with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Customs, the Project Company learned that some Chinese compatriots and private enterprises in Egypt lacked anti-pandemic drugs, and assisted the embassy in collecting some drugs from various Chinese-funded enterprises to adjust drugs and provide rescue for enterprises or individuals in urgent need in case of emergency.
Guided by the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, Egyptian NPIC Project Company organized the "Party Building Seminar on COVID-19 Pandemic Prevention and Control of Chinese-funded Enterprises in New Cairo" on July 3 in order to further implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions on COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control, share the experience of Chinese-funded enterprises in pandemic prevention and control, explore the establishment of a mutual help mechanism and call for efforts to conduct "bistability". The Seminar made it clear that while giving full play to the vanguard and exemplary leading role of Party members and the battlewagon role of Party branches, it was necessary to carry out localization and grid management of pandemic prevention, implement the responsibility of straight-line management, and bring local employees and contractors into the scope of pandemic prevention and control. Party members and cadres should lead by example, supervise, guide and implement those in person and lead local employees to participate in "anti-pandemic" and "pandemic war" while creatively carrying out flexible production organization in ways that made every effort to complete various production tasks and achieve the principle of "grasping both links at the same time and attaching sufficient importance to both".
The Third One - A Letter to All Overseas Personnel of the Company from ZhenHua Oil
The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented heavy losses to all countries around the world since World War II and almost stopped the global economy, resulting in a sharp drop in energy demand. Against the extreme situation, ZhenHua Oil Overseas Upstream Project resolutely implemented the arrangement requirements of improving quality, decreasing cost and increasing benefit of the headquarters, made overall plans for pandemic prevention and control and resumption of work and production, vigorously promoted the low-cost operation strategy, tapped the space for decreasing cost and increasing benefit, improved the quality of lean management, and fully guaranteed the national energy security and the preservation and appreciation of state-owned capital.
However, this also meant that the cadres and employees who stuck to the frontline of overseas oil field production were facing tremendous work and psychological pressure at the same time. There were 9 permanent Chinese personnel in Egyptian NPIC Project of ZhenHua Oil, among which 5 stopped relocating because of the pandemic to take the project permanently and stick to their posts, with the shortest one sticking to post for 6 months and the longest one sticking to the frontline for 8 months. Shi Daju, the Drilling Manager of the Project, was the colleague who stuck to it for the longest time. In the past 8 months when his mother-in-law died of illness, his wife alone made arrangements for a funeral in China. What's more, there was still a primary school child who needed to be taken care of in the family. After busy work, he was nervous with worry when thinking of the family often, but his colleagues could only comfort him silently. As the top leader, Ma Cheng, General Manager of the Project Company, had always shared happiness and woe with everyone in the frontline, undertook the pressure from all parties in the project, the completion of output, the exchange of shareholders and the bargaining of partners... These frontline personnel were the pillars of the family. However, in the face of the worries of their relatives and guilt from their mind, they still shouldered their responsibilities and fulfilled their mission without hesitation, and cooperated with the headquarters and Chengdu Research Center to overcome the difficulties in production and operation.
The workover rig contract in NWG Block of the Oilfield was about to expire, thus Shi Daju organized Drilling Department, Contract Department, etc. to start contract renewal negotiations with the Contractor early. The overall contract price was reduced by 5% to the expected target on the basis of the original contract after several rounds of confrontation. However, the rare sharp drop in oil price disrupted the original plan before the contract signing. Shi Daju could only ask the Contractor to reduce the price again. This workover rig contract created the lowest price for similar contracts in the Egyptian market from rejection to compromise and from confronting each other with daggers to cooperation and sharing. When talking about the family, Shi Daju said stoutly: "I am a member of the Communist Party. Against the current pandemic, this is my duty. In this special period when sticking to the overseas frontline, we must call for efforts to decrease cost and increase benefit wholeheartedly". There was no high-spirited momentum when negotiating with the Contractor in his words.
It's worth mentioning that all 5 colleagues who stuck to the frontline of Egyptian NPIC Project in the special period were Party members and were making their own contributions in their posts. Egyptian NPIC Project completed 28% of the annual production task with 19% of the established investment in the first quarter alone in the first half of the year with extreme difficulties, without production and operation risk, safety and stability risk, or labor employment risk...
In the middle ten days of July, various countries began to resume navigation, thus the cadres and employees who stayed at home also persuaded their worried relatives and packed their bags to overseas without hesitation. They all attached A Letter to All Overseas Personnel of the Company signed by Liu Yijiang, Party Secretary and Chairman of ZhenHua Oil, and Wang Yuetao, General Manager and Deputy Party Secretary in their bags. The Letter highly affirmed the great contribution made by the cadres who fought in the frontline of overseas anti-pandemic and production to the overall stability and controllability of the Company in the special period, and thanked them for putting the national and collective interests at the forefront, undertaking particularly arduous tasks, fighting in particularly dangerous places and appearing at a particularly critical juncture. Meanwhile, all employees were enjoined and encouraged to continuously work together as responsible partners to win a white war of COVID-19 and low oil price, and to make new and greater contributions to promoting the development of "the Belt and Road Initiative", fulfilling corporate social responsibility and realizing the high-quality development of the Company!