West White Rose gets the go-ahead offshore eastern Canada

Husky Energy and ExxonMobil are propelling field development activity offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. Husky and partners Suncor Energy and Nalcor Energy-Oil and Gas recently sanctioned the West White Rose project, while ExxonMobil brought Hebron online ahead of schedule.

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Jessica Stump

Assistant Editor

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The harsh environment semisubmersibleTransocean Barents is working on behalf of Suncor Energy offshore Newfoundland. (Courtesy Transocean)

Husky Energyand partners Suncor Energy and Nalcor Energy-Oil and Gas have sanctioned the West White Rose project offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. The $1.6-billion development calls for a fixed wellhead platform consisting of a concrete gravity structure and an integrated topsides tied back to the SeaRose FPSO via subsea infrastructure. First oil is scheduled for 2022, with an expected peak production rate of about 75,000 b/d in 2025.

The consortium of SNL-Lavalin, Dragados Canada, and Pennecon has started construction of the concrete gravity structure at a purpose-built graving dock in Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021. The structure is estimated to be 145 m (476 ft) tall, weigh 210,000 metric tons, and feature 76,000 cu m (2.69 MMcf) of concrete.

TechnipFMC received the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation contract for the subsea equipment including tie-in manifolds, flexible flowlines, and control umbilicals to connect the new West White Rose platform to the existingSeaRose FPSO.

Discovered in 1984, the White Rose field is in the Jeanne d’Arc basin, 350 km (217 mi) east of Newfoundland and Labrador in 120 m (394 ft) of water.

Husky Energy also recorded a new oil discovery at Northwest White Rose. The White Rose A-78 well was drilled about 11 km (7 mi) northwest of theSeaRose FPSO in 1Q 2017 and delineated a light oil column of more than 100 m (328 ft). The discovery continues to be assessed. A potential development could leverage the SeaRose, existing subsea infrastructure and the new West White Rose wellhead platform.

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Earlier this year, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) lifted its suspension of operations at theSeaRose FPSO and associated facilities offshore Newfoundland. It imposed the suspension on Jan. 17, following a review of an incident from March 2017, where operator Husky Energy is said to have departed from the agreed Ice Management Plan for the area. When an iceberg entered the FPSO’s quarter-mile exclusion zone, the company did not respond by disconnecting the vessel with a subsequent sail-away.

“We could have and should have responded differently according to the pre-existing plan, and have learned from this incident,” said Husky CEO Rob Peabody. “We will apply these lessons and share the learnings broadly in the region and across the company. Our engagement with the C-NLOPB was constructive and cooperative. We share the same objective. The safety of our people and the protection of the environment is our first priority.”

To ensure similar situations do not arise in future, the company has agreed to a series of actions with the C-NLOPB, including:

• A full review of Husky’s ice management and emergency response plans, already performed with improvements introduced and implemented. The emergency response plan acknowledges that the SeaRose FPSO must be disconnected if a threatening iceberg enters the 0.25 nautical mile ice exclusion area.

• An emergency response drill (already completed), observed by the C-NLOPB, industry partners, and the offshore facilities certifying authority.

• Husky’s management has met with employees offshore and onshore to relay the changes that are being made and to make it clear that procedures must be followed with no exceptions.

• Organizational changes, with the appointment of Trevor Pritchard as senior vice president, Atlantic Region.

ExxonMobil has started oil production from the Hebron field in the Jeanne d’Arc basin of the Grand Banks, 350 km southeast of St. John’s. Discovered in 1980, estimated recoverable reserves are more than 700 MMbbl. The field’s platform, installed in 92 m (300 ft) water depth, comprises a gravity base structure supporting an integrated topsides deck, designed to produce up to 150,000 b/d and to store 1.2 MMbbl of oil.

Hebron is operated by ExxonMobil Canada Properties, which holds 35.5% equity in the project. Co-venturers are Chevron Canada Ltd. (29.6%), Suncor Energy Inc. (21%), Statoil Canada Ltd. (9%), and Nalcor Energy-Oil and Gas Inc. (4.9%).

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