Hebron on the horizon as Terra Nova work winds down

Paul Herridge
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The Terra Nova floating production, storage and off-loading vessel is at the Peter Kiewit Offshore facility in Marystown undergoing scheduled work, such as equipment upgrades that will help in the handling of hydrogen sulfide (sour gas) at the field, and the replacement of the water injection slue. The vessel, about the size of three football fields. — Photo by Paul Herridge/The Southern Gazette

Work on the Terra Nova floating, production, storage and off-loading vessel (FPSO) at Peter Kiewit’s Cow Head fabrication facility is winding down.

Wayne Brake, president of the MWF/CAW Local 20, representing tradespeople at the site, estimated about 90 per cent of the job is complete and predicted the vessel will be heading back to the Grand Banks before the end of the month.

The Suncor-operated ship arrived at Marystown around the end of June for general maintenance, equipment upgrades to help in the handling of hydrogen sulfide, or sour gas, and replacement of its swivel.

“Our work is basically clewed up, but they’re releasing other work packs, because I guess they still got some trouble offshore.”

Brake acknowledged, as of Friday, there were still more than 600 people at the yard, and while he had heard some rumblings about potential layoffs in the coming days, there was nothing confirmed at that point.

Good news in future GBS work

According to Brake, there is good news as work to build the drilling support module for the Hebron gravity base structure (GBS) is expected to get underway at the facility early next year.

However, he said it is likely there will be a four or five month slowdown in the interim, following the departure of the ‘Terra Nova’.

It had been hoped the gap could be filled with ferry construction for the provincial government. Brake said he was hoping to reach Burin-Placentia West MHA Clyde Jackman for an update on that situation.

Kiewit and the province settled a dispute on cost overruns for the construction of two other ferries completed last year, and have been in talks to build a third.

Brake said, “I asked for them not to drag it out, but apparently they are. It’s just going on and on. I talked to a deputy minister a couple of weeks ago and she said basically they are looking for prices across Atlantic Canada, but the only ones they’re negotiating with is Kiewit.”

He added he anticipates some preparation work will be required ahead of the start of the Hebron module at the Cow Head facility.

The union president estimated construction of the drilling support module would generate employment for up to 500 people lasting between 20-24 months.

“We know that there’s going to be work coming, but it would be nice to keep

200-300 (employees) there for the next few months.

“I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting people. Most people anyway (have qualified) for unemployment and they’ll hang around for a few months now.”

The Southern Gazette

Organizations: MWF/CAW Local 20, Cow Head facility.The union

Geographic location: Hebron, Terra Nova, Cow Head Marystown Atlantic Canada

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  • William Daniels
    September 05, 2012 - 11:02

    Can't wait to see Kaverner start to build the GBS. It appears at this point they will have the expertise. Kiewit not so much. .