The Terra Nova floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel is set to depart the Grand Banks and settle into the Kiewit shipyard in Marystown later this year.
Union rep Wayne Brake told The Telegram Friday there will be a lot of work available for local tradespeople on the project.
He said about 20 tradespeople are currently on site, but the number working at the yard is set to jump in anticipation of the Terra Nova's arrival.
"I think there's 11 more people coming back next week," he said.
Brake said he expected to see an expanded workforce down the line, but could not say at this point how many people will be needed.
The Terra Nova FPSO is operated by Suncor, used at the Terra Nova oilfield about 350 kilometres offshore eastern Newfoundland.
The vessel is about the size of three football fields set end to end and more than 18 storeys high to the helideck. It can store 960,000 barrels of oil and house 120 people while producing oil.
Scheduled work on the vessel this year is expected to include equipment upgrades that will help in the handling of hydrogen sulfide - sour gas - at the field.
In consideration of the work, production at Terra Nova is expected to be shut down for 21 weeks beginning in June, although the actual start date "remains to be determined," according to a spokeswoman for Suncor.
However, when the Henry Goodrich mobile offshore drilling unit returns from its own time away for maintenance, Suncor plans to drill two development wells at Terra Nova, according to the company.
Dates for that work have not been confirmed, but general timelines suggest one well in the first half of 2012 and one later in the year, within the fourth financial quarter.
Suncor is operator at Terra Nova (with just under 38 per cent share), partnered with ExxonMobil (19 per cent), Statoil (15 per cent), Husky Energy (13 per cent), Murphy Oil (just under 10.5 per cent), Mosbacher Operating (just under 3.9 per cent) and Chevron Canada (one per cent).
The Telegram contacted a Kiewit representative about the shipyard work, but received no response as of press time.