The large Hebron provider

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Super oil major, Exxon, and it’s partners, made it official today; they are committing to spending $14 billion on developing the Hebron offshore oil project in Eastern Canada. Situated in the Jeanne D’Arc Basin, about 350 km south east of St John’s in Newfoundland, the project will join nearby oil and gas operations Terra Nova, White Rose and the big one that launched it all, Hibernia. The Hebron project will be similar to the Hibernia operation, also run by Exxon, and producing oil since 1997.

Hibernia produced 150,000 barrels a day in 2011. Hibernia’s reserves were originally estimated at 700 million barrels, but that was revised to 1.2 billion barrels. In comparison, Hebron’s reserve is expected to hold 1 billion barrels. This will represent a significant increase in offshore oil production capacity for Canada. The project is expected to achieve first oil in 2017.

Originally discovered in 1980, the development was approved in May 2011 by the federal and provincial government. Apparently, today’s announcement is no big surprise since construction for the project’s gravity base oil platform has been underway since April 2012, at Bull Arm, Newfoundland.

The Newfoundland marine workforce will undoubtedly be drawn back home, from all parts of Canada they currently work in. This I imagine will further stress the supply of seafarers in Canada, in particular the Great Lakes. However, if history is any indication, there will most likely not be too many mariners from other parts of the country invited there. Additionally, the trend of bringing in foreign assets to carry out work on the project, already very common in this area, will surely increase, further eroding our marine know how and sovereignty. All point to interesting times ahead for the Canadian seafarer, and those who depend on them.

You can read Globe and Mail’s article here, and learn more about the project here.

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