Oil and Natural Gas Industry Responds to COVID-19 with Charitable and Community Assistance

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, the oil and natural gas industry has stepped up to meet the challenge with charitable contributions. As Natural Gas Intelligence recently reported:

“Oil and natural gas companies across the Lower 48 and abroad, themselves facing uncertainty due to an ongoing price war, have launched major relief efforts in their communities amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Here are just a few examples of how companies, trade associations and employees are helping in their communities across the country:

The New Mexico Oil & Gas Association donated $50,000 from its Bright Future Fund to eight different nonprofit organizations around the state to help residents impacted by COVID-19 and in need of food security. NMOGA noted the donation will serve people in 15 counties and Executive Director Ryan Flynn said:

“It’s important for all of us to step up and do our part during these difficult and challenging times. For most New Mexicans that simply means staying home and staying safe, but it also means making the most of our available resources to support those in need. We created the Brighter Future Fund because we believe in empowering our communities, improving the lives of our citizens, and responding to the basic needs of our neighbors. The oil and gas industry is deeply committed to New Mexico and our state’s future depends on all of us helping one another succeed.”

The Colorado Oil & Gas Association sponsored a donor drive to encourage industry contributions to the Food Bank of the Rockies, as did the Western Slope COGA with its local food bank.

ExxonMobil is providing one million meals to Houston residents impacted by COVD-19 through local food banks, and has committed to produce much-needed protective equipment:

“ExxonMobil announced it is partnering with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Global Center for Medical Innovation to design and produce ‘reusable personal protection equipment’ such as face shields and masks, for use by health care workers treating patients afflicted with COVID-19.”

In Pennsylvania, when an urgent call from the Washington Health System went out for personal protective equipment for health care workers, natural gas producer Range Resources quickly responded. According to The Observer-Reporter:

“Facing a shortage of personal protective equipment – or PPE – for doctors, nurses and staff, Washington Health System on Friday issued a letter asking local companies to donate masks, protective suits, latex gloves and other supplies to help protect health care workers on the front lines from the highly contagious COVID-19. …Range Resources was among the companies that collected and donated N95 masks, safety glasses, and nitrile gloves within a few hours.”

The company has also launched a $100,000 community stimulus package and donated laptops to a Pennsylvania school district to help students with remote learning.

Shell and its contractor Bechtel Corp., which are building a petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania, also stepped up with a donation of about 500 masks and other equipment to local hospitals including Heritage Valley Health System.

Similarly, The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program is working to assist students who can no longer attend schools in person by providing free access to the organization’s STEM resources. OOGEEP’s Kennedy Copeland said:

“Available lessons cover key geology, earth science, physics, and chemistry principles, they meet state and national science standards, and are targeted for the middle and high school level. Each lesson contains additional activities and an assessment to help further challenge students at home. For younger students, OOGEEP also has activity books, an activity placemat, and a word search available.”

Energy delivery company Enbridge, which is based in Canada and has extensive operations in the United States, said it is contributing CAD$3.2 million to individuals and communities affected by the outbreak and donating equipment:

“The contribution will focus on food banks, social service agencies, mental health organizations, first responders and healthcare providers. Enbridge expects to contribute to nearly 300 community-based nonprofit organizations and approximately 150 Indigenous and Tribal nations. Enbridge’s local offices have also been doing their part to help by donating PPE gear, working with a local distiller to produce hand sanitizer, and providing meals to those in need.”

Sempra Energy, a major midstream and downstream company, announced its charitable foundation is donating $1.75 million to community and nonprofit organizations in the states where it operates including California, Louisiana, and Texas. Dennis V. Arriola, board chair of the Sempra Energy Foundation said:

“Many nonprofit organizations are faced with unprecedented demand for their services due to the current COVID-19 situation. These grants will help them to continue serving the needs of vulnerable populations who need their support now more than ever.”

Detroit-based DTE Energy is matching donations to Michigan nonprofits through its charitable foundation:

“The DTE Energy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, today announced that it will match all donations to the Michigan Association of United Ways and Michigan Community Action now through Thursday, April 16. The non-profits are focused on helping individuals, families and communities weather the COVID-19 crisis by supplying food, shelter and other basic needs.”

It is encouraging and uplifting to see the efforts being made by companies across all sectors, not just oil and natural gas, to help their neighbors during this unprecedented time.

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