The Hebron offshore oil production platform lays in Bull Arm, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland awaiting tow out to the Hebron oil field after construction in the nearby shipyard.
The Hebron oil field is located on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland about 350km south of St. John’s near three other oil producing fields at Hibernia, White Rose and Terra Nova. The tow out comes 20 years to the week that the Hibernia platform was launched out of the same yard to kick off Newfoundland’s oil boom.
The Hebron field was discovered in the 1980s by Chevron and will be operated by a consortium (Chevron, Statoil, Suncor, Nalcor) led by ExxonMobil. It holds an estimated 700 billion barrels of oil but like the three other projects it will most likely yield much more once production begins and advanced drilling techniques explores the reservoir further.
The Newfoundland government has an ownership stake through it’s energy crown corporation NALCOR and expects to make $10 billion over the life of the project.
The rig cost an estimated $14 billion to construct. It is capable of pumping 150,000 barrels per day. First oil is expected by the end of 2017.
Other Newfoundland offshore oil production installations…
Hibernia: Exploration drilling began in the 1960s in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in the north west Atlantic off the east coast of Canada. The drilling of well Hibernia P-51 in 1979 confirmed that there was viable oil reserves deep under the ocean. It would be nearly 20 more years for the deals to be made that would see the construction of a massive concrete production platform and the oil and money to flow as the first offshore oil production in Canada. The Hibernia offshore oil field is owned jointly by ExxonMobil Canada (33.125%), Chevron Canada Resources (26.875%), Suncor (20%), Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation (8.5%), Murphy Oil (6.5%) and StatoilHydro Canada Ltd (5%).
The Terra Nova oil field (above) was discovered and developed by Canada’s state own oil company, Petro Canada. Discovered in 1984, the oil field was the second to be developed on the Grand Banks offshore Newfoundland. Production from the field began in 2002. Petro Canada was later privatized and purchased by Suncor Energy. Terra Nova utilizes a floating production platform instead of the concrete gravity based structure of Hibernia or Hebron. Partners in the project are Suncor, ExxonMobil, Statoil, Husky Energy, Murphy oil, Mosbacher and Chevron.
White Rose (above) is the third offshore oil field to be developed offshore Newfoundland. Discovered in 1984 and developed by Husky Energy it is the smallest of the four producing fields with Husky as the major share holder and Suncor Energy with a 27 percent stake. It also usesa floating production platform name the Sea Rose.
Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose have all produced more oil that originally projected and have all more than recovered their development and exploration cost which make them very cost effective to operate and expand for their owners. All are undergoing expansion projects to further extend the lives of their respective projects well past their original life expectancy. Hebron is starting out even larger than the three previous projects with a 30 year life expectancy.
I have been covering the offshore oil industry as a journalist and photographer since the early and heady exploration days of the late 1970s. Its been a fascinating and great learning experience to see an entire industry evolve and develop in the political and economic microcosm that is Newfoundland. …greg locke
© 2017 Greg Locke. All rights reserved.