Offshore regulator expects another 87 million barrels
The Terra Nova FPSO sails across Mortier Bay in this file photo. It has been confirmed that the Terra Nova oilfield will get an extended life. Production is expected to continue until 2027. — Southern Gazette file photo
Provincial coffers took a hit when the production vessel at the Terra Nova oilfield was taken offline for repairs in 2012. However, the work has resulted in new benefits for both the province and the oil companies involved.
Specifically, it means an additional 87 million barrels of oil from Terra Nova, sources at the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) have confirmed.
The Terra Nova floating production, storage and off-loading vessel (FPSO) was taken offline and work on that ship was completed in Marystown over the course of 183 days in 2012 — from mid-June to early December.
Paired with spending on work at the field, the vessel’s new life is expected to result in a longer life for the project overall.
“The swivel (on the FPSO) needed upgrades, as well as the flowlines needed to be improved, so they were all replaced. And once those improvements were done, we felt comfortable to look at the analysis and say you can extend that (field) life out for another seven years,” said Jeff O’Keefe, the CNLOPB’s manager of resource management.
The additional production is expected to come in large part as a result of this extended service life for the oil project.
Life extended until 2027
The regulator expects the oilfield will now be in operation until at least 2027, extended from the previous end-life estimate of 2020.
The regulator’s estimate for the total expected production from the field has jumped
from 419 million barrels of oil to 506 million barrels.
“While there is a Southern satellite piece ... it’s more on the fact they can produce over a longer period of time and, thus, the recovery factor increases,” O’Keefe said.
“You have a confidence that they can produce a certain amount and, basically, once this equipment was added and all the upgrades were done, then we had the confidence to say they can go out and proceed (to 2027).”
The board has closely monitored production at Terra Nova in February and March, considering how the field has been producing upon the FPSO’s return.
The Terra Nova field was discovered in 1984 and became the second oilfield to be developed after Hibernia. About 350 kilometres from St. John’s, the project is led by Suncor Energy.
In all, 1,198 people were working on the Terra Nova oil project as of Dec. 31, 2012.
According to O’Keefe, the added production at Terra Nova was made known to the province about mid-March.
Without the same time offline this year, the provincial government is expecting Terra Nova to produce about 15.3 million barrels of oil this year. It is 6.8 million barrels more than in 2012.
Total oil production for all projects in the province is expected to be 84.4 million barrels — a 16.9 per cent increase over 2012.