East Coast Canada has three stable, offshore producing projects (Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose) and one project (Hebron) scheduled to draw first oil in late 2017. Two other projects, each of which produce natural gas, are Deep Panuke, a natural gas field which began producing gas in 2013 and is currently a seasonal operation, and the Sable Offshore Energy Project, which is preparing to cease natural gas production and be decommissioned.
The Hibernia field, discovered in 1979 and producing oil since 1997, is located about 315 kilometres east southeast of St. John’s in 80 metres of water. Located within the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, which underlies the northeast portion of the Grand Banks, the field consists of two principal reservoirs – the Hibernia and Ben Nevis-Avalon reservoirs.
A fixed production platform, consisting of a gravity-based structure (GBS) and topsides accommodations, drilling and production facilities, has been installed to produce the field. The GBS and one of the five topsides super modules were built at Bull Arm, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the four other super modules were fabricated in Korea and Italy before being transported to Bull Arm for assembly. The platform is 224 metres tall and weighs 1.2 million tonnes (including 500,000 tonnes of solid ballast). It has production capacity of 230,000 barrels of crude per day and storage capacity of 1.3 million barrels of oil.
Hibernia is operated by Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC). Project partners are:
- ExxonMobil Canada Properties – 33.125%
- Chevron Canada Resources – 26.875%
- Suncor Energy – 20%
- Canada Hibernia Holding Corp. – 8.5%
- Murphy Atlantic Offshore Oil – 6.5%
- Statoil Canada Ltd. – 5%
Originally issued a 25-year production licence and thought to hold 520 million barrels of recoverable oil, Hibernia’s recoverable reserves/resources are currently estimated at 1.644 billion barrels of oil and 2.353 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. On December 31, 2016, the oil field produced its one billionth barrel of oil. It is anticipated that Hibernia will continue to produce beyond 2040, 20 years longer than the original project life.
Hibernia Southern Extension
The Hibernia Southern Extension (HSE) is a $1.74 billion subsea development with tiebacks to the Hibernia GBS which will enable further development of the Ben Nevis-Avalon reservoir. This extension project added more than 100 million barrels to Hibernia reserves, bringing Hibernia’s recoverable reserves to 1.644 billion barrels of oil, more than double the volumes projected at the time of initial project funding in the mid-1990s.
The Hibernia Southern Extension is operated by ExxonMobil Canada with project participants:
|Unit Interest||EL 1093||PL 1005||PL 1011|
|ExxonMobil Canada||27.4 %||29.8125||22.5||29.8125|
|Chevron Canada Resources||23.6 %||24.1875||22.5||24.1875|
|Petro-Canada Hibernia Partnership (Suncor)||19.5 %||18||22.5||18|
|Statoil Canada Ltd.||10.5 %||4.5||22.5||4.5|
|Nalcor Energy||10 %||10||10||10|
|Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation||5.1%||7.65||0||7.65|
|Murphy Oil||3.9 %||5.85||0||5.85|
The Terra Nova oil field, discovered in 1984 and producing oil since 2002, is located approximately 350 kilometres southeast of St. John’s, in about 95 metres of water. The field consists of three producing structural fault blocks called the Graben, the East Flank and the Far East.
The field is estimated to contain 506 million barrels of recoverable oil reserves and up to May 31, 2015 had produced 373 million barrels. The oil is light sweet crude, similar to that in the Hibernia field. Production life is estimated to be 25 years from first oil.
This project uses a double-hulled, ice-reinforced FPSO designed for the harsh environment of the Grand Banks, which experiences extreme cold, high winds and seas, as well as fog, ice and icebergs on a seasonal basis. The Terra Nova FPSO has a design storage capacity of 960,000 barrels of oil and an approved production capacity of 180,000 barrels per day.
Operated by Suncor Energy (formerly Petro-Canada), project participants include:
- Suncor Energy – 37.675%
- ExxonMobil – 19.0%
- Statoil – 15%
- Husky Energy – 13%
- Murphy Oil – 10.475%
- Mosbacher Operating – 3.85%
- Chevron Canada – 1%
The White Rose oil field development is located on the Grand Banks, on the eastern edge of the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, 350 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland. Located in 125 metres of water, the development also has three satellite extensions: North Amethyst, South White Rose and West White Rose.
Discovered in 1984, project operator Husky Energy uses the SeaRose FPSO to produce and store oil. The vessel has a design storage capacity of 940,000 barrels and production rate of 55,000 barrels per day.
Production from the White Rose core field began November 12, 2005. Production from North Amethyst, the first subsea tieback to the core field, began flowing on May 31, 2010 and production from a pilot well pair at West White Rose was initiated in September 2011. South White Rose began production in 2015.
Production at the North Amethyst – Hibernia formation, which is estimated to hold eight million barrels of oil, had been scheduled for late 2015, however drilling was postponed until 2016-17 due to the cancellation of the West Mira rig contract.
The recoverable reserves/resources of the White Rose core field is estimated at 238 million barrels of oil and 3.023 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (Source – C-NLOPB). The expansion fields are estimated at:
- North Amethyst: 70 million barrels of oil (Source – Operator)
- South White Rose: 24 million barrels of oil (Source – Operator)
- West White Rose: 115 million barrels of oil (Source – Operator)
As of December 21, 2015, 252.8 million barrels of oil cululative have been produced from the White Rose field as follows:
- Ben Nevis-Avalon South Pool: 209.9 million barrels (Source – C-NLOPB)
- North Amethyst: 42.9 million barrels (Source: C-NLOPB)
White Rose Extension Project (West White Rose)
In October 2013, Husky Energy and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador signed a benefits agreement that would see the White Rose Extension Project (WREP) utilize a wellhead platform tied back to the SeaRose FPSO to fully develop the West White Rose pool. As well, the platform’s concrete base would be built at a new, re-usable graving dock to be constructed at Argentia.
In December 2014, as Brent crude oil prices continued to decline, Husky announced a one-year deferral of its final investment decision on WREP. During that time, the company said it would identify cost efficiencies with the proposed fixed platform and consider a subsea development option for West White Rose. Husky has since completed the Argentia graving dock, however has not yet made its final investment decision. WREP production is now anticipated in 2020, or later.
The Hebron oilfield, discovered in 1981, is located in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, 350 kilometres southeast of St. John’s. It consists of three discovered fields named Hebron, West Ben Nevis and Ben Nevis. Production is anticipated in late 2017.
Oil will be produced from a gravity-based structure (GBS) that was constructed at the Bull Arm Fabrication site and designed to store approximately 1.2 million barrels of crude oil. The structure will be towed out to the Hebron oil field in May 2017 where it will operate in 93 metres of water. First oil is anticipated before the end of this year.
A substantial portion of the topsides was also engineered and fabricated in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hebron’s recoverable oil reserves are estimated at 707 million barrels (Source: C-NLOPB) over its 30-year production life.
ExxonMobil Canada is the operator for the Hebron project and project participants include:
- ExxonMobil Canada Properties – 36%
- Chevron Canada Resources – 26.7%
- Suncor Energy – 22.73%
- Statoil Canada – 9.7%
- Nalcor Energy – 4.9%