London — Italian oil major Eni continues to operate its domestic refineries and power plants in northern Italy normally, a company spokesman said Thursday, despite sending home staff at its headquarters in Milan as local coronavirus cases mount.
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All Eni employees based in the company's San Donato Milanese and central Milan offices were asked on Wednesday to work home until February 28, the spokesman said. He declined to say if any actual or suspected cases of coronavirus has been identified at the sites.
"Given the operational complexity of its industrial activities in the offices, the company will maintain the functional supervision to guarantee the complete safety of its operations," the spokesman said.
San Donato Milanese, on the outskirts of Milan, is a major administrative and operational center for Eni which includes an oil and gas research center and Enipower, which operates six thermoelectric plants in Italy.
Eni operates two refineries in northern Italy, the 190,000 b/d Sannazzaro plant near Milan, and a biorefinery near Venice.
Italy has become Europe's worst-affected country by coronavirus. Italy's coronavirus cases surged by 100 to over 500 Thursday, with 14 total deaths, mostly in the highly-industrialized Lombardia and Veto regions of northern Italy.
On Tuesday, Chevron sent home about 300 workers from its trading office in London's Canary Wharf district after an employee reported flu-like symptoms after having recently returned from a country infected with the coronavirus, according to sources close to the matter.