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Contractors evacuate bushfire victims, oil majors open cheque books

07 Jan 2020 1:08 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

AUSTRALIA’s unprecedented bushfire disaster has seen the country’s upstream oil and gas industry mobilise by evacuating fire victims and making multi-million dollar donations.

The fires have devastated more than 12 million hectares on the east coast, destroying whole towns and killing 22 people including volunteer firefighters.

Last week the department of defense was called in to start evacuating locals in bushfire affected areas on the Gippsland coast of Victoria.

However, oil and gas contractors also played a crucial role in the evacuations before the military was deployed by Canberra.

The rig tender anchor handling vessel Far Saracen was released from a work program with ExxonMobil and deployed to provide provisions and relocate stranded citizens.

A police officer who helped the crew of the Far Saracen, Chris Nairey, wrote in a Facebook post that the workers aboard the Far Saracen "worked around the clock… looking after sick people, the elderly, infants, and even special-needs teenagers."

"They fed us. Gave us beds. Even made sure we had clean uniforms and underwear," he said.

"They did this all while supplying Mallacoota with food, water and diesel. They did all of this on top of running the ship."

Since New Year's Eve, ExxonMobil through its wholly-owned subsidiary Esso has worked continuously with emergency services responding to the East Gippsland fires.

"This has included providing two support vessels, the Far Saracen and the Far Senator, which helped provide food and water to the town of Mallacoota, as well as providing accommodation for community members with medical conditions and emergency response personnel," an ExxonMobil spokesperson told Energy News.

ExxonMobil also provided two of its helicopter fleet for firefighting services.

The upstream industry has also pledged more than A$4 million to help affected communities.

Source: Energy News Bulletin

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