Comment sought on Hibernia South

Moira Baird
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Oil companies propose $1.74-billion development of 261 million barrels of crude

The $1.74-billion proposal to develop an estimated 261 million barrels of recoverable crude oil in the Hibernia South Extension is ready for public comment.

The board that regulates the province's offshore oil industry has set a May 31 deadline for accepting comments.

The $1.74-billion proposal to develop an estimated 261 million barrels of recoverable crude oil in the Hibernia South Extension is ready for public comment.

The board that regulates the province's offshore oil industry has set a May 31 deadline for accepting comments.

And if you want to do so, you'll have to wade through a hefty 299-page development plan, along with 14 additional shorter reports. (See page D1 for details on how to comment.)

The comments will be part of the board's assessment of the Hibernia South proposal, and its decision will be sent to the provincial and federal ministers of natural resources for approval.

Both ministers must sign off on the ruling by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB).

To develop Hibernia south, the companies propose using a subsea tie-back that would pump first oil by 2013, or sooner.

That crude will offset production declines that have already begun at the oilfield - with Hibernia South production peaking in 2015.

Subsea tie-backs are used to develop small pools of oil and gas up to 30 kilometres away from an existing production platform. An example is the ongoing North Amethyst project to expand the White Rose oilfield.

Estimated to cost almost $1.16 billion, drilling will account for 70 per cent of the Hibernia South price tag.

The development plan says production wells will be drilled from the Hibernia platform. Water-injector wells, which are used to stimulate the flow of oil from the seabed, will be drilled by a mobile rig. That drilling contract is expected to be in place during the first three months of 2012, according to the development plan.

The plan also says the life of the Hibernia platform can be extended beyond its original 30-year lifespan to 2040. To determine if this was feasible, the oil companies reviewed the platform's original design and 10 years' worth of inspections, maintenance and service at Hibernia.

That study concluded the platform can continue production until 2045 - with continued surveillance of the facilities, preventative maintenance and inspections, and upgrades. It also recommended a similar review be carried out in 2020.

For the most part, the Hibernia South project will use the existing platform facilities to produce and ship crude oil.

"Only minor topsides modifications" at the platform will be necessary to produce the Hibernia South oil. They're estimated to cost $30 million.

"Existing infrastructure will be used as much as practical, including existing Hibernia production facilities," the development plan report said.

"The existing transport system will be used. Decision-making will be on a life-cycle basis to capture synergies with existing development.

"Hibernia facilities have adequate service life to support the currently projected production profiles up to the year 2040."

It's the second time the Hibernia partners have filed a proposal to develop the southern part of the oilfield.

Their 2007 plan was rejected by the provincial government.

At the time, the province said the Hibernia South proposal didn't contain enough information.

Since then, the province has acquired a 10 per cent equity stake in Hibernia South and an enhanced royalty regime.

HOW TO COMMENT

The current development plan is available at the CNLOPB's website: www.cnlopb.nl.ca/news/nr20100430_pdf.shtml

Public comments will be accepted until May 31 and may be submitted to: Public Comments - Hibernia DPA, CNLOPB, 5th Floor, TD Place, 140 Water Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 6H6. Or by e-mail: information @cnlopb.nl.ca

mbaird@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Hibernia, Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board

Geographic location: Hibernia South, White Rose, 140 Water Street St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I am a little disappointed with the Hibernia South Extension proposal. It seems like there will not be many jobs created and there'll be a lot of oil not produced from the reservoir because of it. All the production wells will be drilled from the Hibernia platform east rig. Only five water injectors will be drilled sub-sea.

    What does this mean?
    On Aug 7th of 2009 the CNLOPB decided to give permission for the Hibernia partners to develop the AA blocks in the original Hibernia field. At this time there were only 5 new oil slots remaining on the east rig at Hibernia. Since then 4 new slots will be used to drill the AA block. That means there is only one new slot left to drill five Hibernia south production wells. Not only that, other areas in the original Hibernia field can not be drilled because there are no drill slots available. Not a good situation!

    What will happen?
    In order for the Hibernia partners to have slots to drill Hibernia south, they will have to prematurely stop pumping oil from other oil producers before their productive life is over. In summary, the Hibernia partners are planning to leave a lot of unproduced oil in the reservoir because of their greed for higher volumes that they will get from their new wells. There will be a lot of waste because of Exxon's greed and lack of foresight!

    Another problem!
    The oil reservoirs might also extend more southward and the OO block, MM2 block and the NN block could also be oil bearing. Where will the Hibernia partners get drilling slots to develop those areas from? Maybe if the CNLOPB would have made the Hibernia partners drill a delineation well in the OO block or MM2 block then we would have known how much oil is really there. They didn't, of course.

    My personal thoughts:
    I think there should have been a rig built to produce the oil. The oil might go a lot further south than the Hibernia partners assume because they haven't drilled there yet. They only assume! Also, there is the Ben-Nevis Avalon reservoir that is found in Hibernia south. How will they develop that? Exxon is trying to do too much from the Hibernia rig. They, the owners, will not even upgrade the facility. I hope the government shoots down this proposal myself. It seems like the Hibernia partners are not planning responsibly.

  • Peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Nasty Nate you got it right the province should not put all its eggs in one basket and start to diversafy for the futer while the going is good.

  • ruff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I agree with you, restart the paper mill in Grand Fall_Windsor

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Nasty, you can't be for real. I cannot believe their is a person on the face of this erth as stupid as you would try and make people believe you are. You're joking aren't you? Nobody is really that stupid to actually think and be as completely pessimistic as you are trying to make people believe you are. All for the sake of no evidence to the contrary but being a dyed in the wool Liberal back scratcher.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Not sure if Don was hitting the bottle a little hard when he tried to understand what I stated. We all know that they are going to extract this resource, no question about it. What the province now does with the cash infusion is what we really need to monitor. Once the oil revenue is gone, we will need to replace that revenue with another. Rather then the province wasting untold millions on failed ventures and take overs, lets see it used to create a sustainable industry that will carry the province forward for years to come.

    What exactly that industry will or could be is anyones guess, but at least we should be doing our homework to leave no stone unturned.

    Once the cash and oil are finished what do you suggest we replace it with? I hope it will not be empty promises and pipe dreams but something substantial this time around that will benefit everyone and not the few.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Giddy Up. Pump it dry. Once it's gone it's gone. Just be sure to invest in sustainable industry while the cash in coming in people. Failing to do so will be the next big mistake we see.

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Don my love. Not everyone who disagrees with your idol Danny Williams is a Liberal. Get your head out of his rear end and see whats really going on around you Don.

  • Marty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I agree with Nasty Nate. We should use this money and get into manufacturing or some other type of industry. We have to start thinking about our childern and grandchildern here. I hope our politicians think this way also.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    I am a little disappointed with the Hibernia South Extension proposal. It seems like there will not be many jobs created and there'll be a lot of oil not produced from the reservoir because of it. All the production wells will be drilled from the Hibernia platform east rig. Only five water injectors will be drilled sub-sea.

    What does this mean?
    On Aug 7th of 2009 the CNLOPB decided to give permission for the Hibernia partners to develop the AA blocks in the original Hibernia field. At this time there were only 5 new oil slots remaining on the east rig at Hibernia. Since then 4 new slots will be used to drill the AA block. That means there is only one new slot left to drill five Hibernia south production wells. Not only that, other areas in the original Hibernia field can not be drilled because there are no drill slots available. Not a good situation!

    What will happen?
    In order for the Hibernia partners to have slots to drill Hibernia south, they will have to prematurely stop pumping oil from other oil producers before their productive life is over. In summary, the Hibernia partners are planning to leave a lot of unproduced oil in the reservoir because of their greed for higher volumes that they will get from their new wells. There will be a lot of waste because of Exxon's greed and lack of foresight!

    Another problem!
    The oil reservoirs might also extend more southward and the OO block, MM2 block and the NN block could also be oil bearing. Where will the Hibernia partners get drilling slots to develop those areas from? Maybe if the CNLOPB would have made the Hibernia partners drill a delineation well in the OO block or MM2 block then we would have known how much oil is really there. They didn't, of course.

    My personal thoughts:
    I think there should have been a rig built to produce the oil. The oil might go a lot further south than the Hibernia partners assume because they haven't drilled there yet. They only assume! Also, there is the Ben-Nevis Avalon reservoir that is found in Hibernia south. How will they develop that? Exxon is trying to do too much from the Hibernia rig. They, the owners, will not even upgrade the facility. I hope the government shoots down this proposal myself. It seems like the Hibernia partners are not planning responsibly.

  • Peter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Nasty Nate you got it right the province should not put all its eggs in one basket and start to diversafy for the futer while the going is good.

  • ruff
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I agree with you, restart the paper mill in Grand Fall_Windsor

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Nasty, you can't be for real. I cannot believe their is a person on the face of this erth as stupid as you would try and make people believe you are. You're joking aren't you? Nobody is really that stupid to actually think and be as completely pessimistic as you are trying to make people believe you are. All for the sake of no evidence to the contrary but being a dyed in the wool Liberal back scratcher.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Not sure if Don was hitting the bottle a little hard when he tried to understand what I stated. We all know that they are going to extract this resource, no question about it. What the province now does with the cash infusion is what we really need to monitor. Once the oil revenue is gone, we will need to replace that revenue with another. Rather then the province wasting untold millions on failed ventures and take overs, lets see it used to create a sustainable industry that will carry the province forward for years to come.

    What exactly that industry will or could be is anyones guess, but at least we should be doing our homework to leave no stone unturned.

    Once the cash and oil are finished what do you suggest we replace it with? I hope it will not be empty promises and pipe dreams but something substantial this time around that will benefit everyone and not the few.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Giddy Up. Pump it dry. Once it's gone it's gone. Just be sure to invest in sustainable industry while the cash in coming in people. Failing to do so will be the next big mistake we see.

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Don my love. Not everyone who disagrees with your idol Danny Williams is a Liberal. Get your head out of his rear end and see whats really going on around you Don.

  • Marty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    I agree with Nasty Nate. We should use this money and get into manufacturing or some other type of industry. We have to start thinking about our childern and grandchildern here. I hope our politicians think this way also.