The Orphan basin bidding round that concluded in December 2003 generated record-breaking revenue for Newfoundland. According to Ed Byrne, the province's minister of natural resources, the best could be yet to come.
"This is the beginning," Byrne said. "More resources await development. More resources await discovery."
The next step will be the 2004 land sale, which closes Nov. 17. The sale is for five blocks covering 270,256 hectares in the Jeanne d'Arc basin, an area that has proven to be a significant oil and gas play.
Newfoundland plans to aggressively pursue investment in its offshore. "Industry is starting to look at other very, very promising fields," Byrne said.
With Hibernia and Terra Nova producing and White Rose scheduled to come onstream in early 2006, the province is looking forward to the next development, which could well be Hebron/Ben Nevis. Work toward that end is in progress. "Hebron/Ben Nevis will move forward sooner rather than later," Byrne said.
While plans are being laid, delineation drilling on White Rose is increasing the development life of the field. New discoveries have added 200-250 bcf of gas and 20-30 MMbbl of recoverable oil to the original field estimates. "When this project comes onstream, Newfoundland and Labrador will produce close to half of Canada's conventional light crude oil," Byrne said.
The immediate goal for the province is to provide a competitive regulatory regime coupled with a competitive fiscal framework that will make Atlantic Canada a magnet for international E&P dollars, Byrne said. "The prospects are bright," he said.