ExxonMobil Greenlights Hebron Oilfield Development

ExxonMobil Greenlights Hebron Oilfield Development

ExxonMobil will move forward with plans to develop the Hebron oil field offshore eastern Canada. The company will spend $14 billion to develop the field, which is expected to begin oil production in 2017, ExxonMobil said in a statement Friday.

Hebron, located offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, will be developed using a gravity-based structure consisting of reinforced concrete designed to withstand sea ice, icebergs and meteorological and oceanographic conditions. The base will be capable of storing approximately 1.2 million barrels of crude oil and will support an integrated topsides deck that includes living quarters and facilities associated with drilling and production.

The structure will allow for the recovery of over 700 million barrels of oil, up from previous estimates of between 400 million and 600 million barrels of oil, a company spokesperson told Rigzone. The Hebron platform will be capable of producing 150,000 barrels of oil per day.

Hebron is one of several large-scale oil developments ExxonMobil will bring on stream in the next five years.

"ExxonMobil will employ its expertise in Arctic development and project execution to develop this world-class resource in challenging operating conditions," said Neil W. Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Company, in a statement Friday.

The project received approval from the Canadian and Newfoundland and Labrador governments in May 2012.

The development will provide significant benefits to the province, including jobs for up to 3,500 people during construction, as well as royalties and taxes to fund provincial infrastructure, social programs and services, ExxonMobil said in a statement.

Construction of the gravity-based structure is underway at the project's primary construction site in Bull Arm, Newfoundland and Labrador. Topsides fabrication is scheduled to begin later this year.

Front-end engineering and design was completed last year and significant progress has been achieved on detailed engineering, ExxonMobil said.

"Current cost estimates reflect advanced project definition and current market and foreign exchange rates," the company noted.

ExxonMobil Canada Properties will serve as operator and hold 36 percent equity interest in the project. Partners include Chevron Canada Limited with 26.7 percent, Suncor Energy with 22.7 percent, Statoil Canada with 9.7 percent, and Nalcor Energy Oil and gas with 4.9 percent.

Hebron was discovered in 1980 in the Jeanne d'Arc Basin, and lies 217 miles (350 kilometers) southeast of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Hebron is located approximately 5.5 miles (nine kilometers) north of the Terra Nova project, 19 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Hibernia, and 28 miles (46 kilometers) from the White Rose project. Hebron is located in 301 feet (92 meters) of water.

Hebron could have recoverable heavy oil resources of up to 1 billion barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Most offshore oil production in Canada takes place in the Jeanne d'Arc Basin. Most of Canada's offshore output comes from the ExxonMobil operated-Hibernia field; production from Hibernia accounted for more than 150,000 barrels per day of production in 2011.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at kboman@rigzone.com


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