​Oil and gas companies help in the fight against COVID-19

Image: Suncor Energy Inc.

Oil and gas companies are stepping up to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

This week AltaGas Ltd. announced it is donating $1 million to help community partners in its operating regions respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be distributed to partner organizations on the frontlines supporting local communities and providing critical support to healthcare workers addressing the health crisis.

Randy Crawford, chief executive of AltaGas said this unprecedented health crisis is having an immediate and significant impact on many people in the communities where the company operates.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to support the communities and those on the frontlines during this unsettled and difficult time,” he said.

Last weekend Suncor Energy Inc. donated and distributed 40,000 N95 masks to communities in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon that were in critical need of the supplies.

“Over the weekend, we distributed the masks to these communities,” said the company in a Facebook post. “It is our honour to be able to play our part alongside all Canadians in caring for each other through these challenging times.”

On March 20th, the federal government asked Canadian manufacturers and businesses to help deliver supplies. In the ensuing days, the government has spoken to nearly 3,000 companies about helping to meet the country’s personal protective equipment and critical health supply needs.

Companies like Shell, Suncor, Alibaba Group, and The Home Depot have donated personal protective and safety equipment and sanitizing supplies.

Shell Canada will donate 125,000 litres of isopropyl alcohol, or IPA, the main ingredient in hand sanitizer, to the federal government over the next three months.

“We’re doing our part, alongside others in our industry, to support Canadians on the front lines of this crisis. Our donation is equal to nearly one million 12-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer,” the company said.

Shell Canada has also contributed $250,000 to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, a City of Calgary, including the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, and United Way of Calgary and Area. The resources raised through this fund will ensure agencies on the ground can continue their critical work in this time of need.

In addition close to 15,000 Shell gas stations across more than 30 countries, including sites across Canada, are providing free food and beverages to healthcare professionals, such as nurses and doctors.

The Government of Canada has signed new procurement agreements with Canadian companies to purchase and boost capacity to manufacture equipment and supplies including portable ventilators, surgical masks, and rapid testing kits. It has also signed letters of intent with five companies including Irving Oil to produce additional test kits, hand sanitizer, and protective apparel including masks and gowns.

“We’re all in this together,” wrote the company on its Facebook page. “As we continue to look for ways across our company to support the essential needs of our communities, we have retooled our blending and packaging facility in Saint John, NB, to add hand sanitizer to the production line. As demand for this product continues to climb globally, we are proud to share our innovative technology and skills to help in the fight against COVID-19.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian companies are answering the call to provide critical support to our health care workers, who are on the front lines of our country’s fight against COVID-19.

“As the situation continues to evolve, the Government of Canada will be there to work with Canadian industry to find solutions that will support our medical professionals and protect the health and safety of all Canadians,” he said.