ConocoPhillips will require U.S. employees with “significant COVID-19 exposure risk” to be vaccinated amid conflicting federal and state decrees.
New employees in the U.S. and workers relocating to the country also will have to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, ConocoPhillips said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. The mandate will apply to less than 10 per cent of the oil driller’s U.S. workforce, and mainly in Alaska.
A small number of employees in Texas will be covered by the requirement, which was communicated to staff on Oct. 5, before Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order blocking vaccine mandates.
International Business Machines Corp., American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. are among U.S. corporations adhering to the federal mandate despite Abbott’s prohibition against such measures in the second-largest U.S. state. The order earlier this week pits the Republican Abbott against President Joe Biden, a Democrat who recently called for companies with 100 or more workers to require shots or weekly testing.
ConocoPhillips said there are “several government directives that require a more thorough review to determine their applicability to our company and our industry.” It will “comply with applicable laws and regulations based on jurisdiction.”
The company’s mandate gives limited accommodation for certain medical or religious reasons.
Oil companies are particularly concerned about low vaccination rates in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, the world’s biggest shale field. ConocoPhillips is set to become the Permian’s No. 2 crude producer after it agreed to buy Royal Dutch Shell plc’s assets in the region for $9.5 billion last month.
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.