Finance Minister Tom Marshall spoke today to the Atlantic Provinces Ideas Exchange of the International Council of Shopping Centres at the Delta Hotel in St. John's. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
Finance Minister Tom Marshall announced this afternoon that the province’s predicted oil production for 2011 has jumped almost 19 million barrels.
It’s the latest revision this year to production numbers, from this year’s budget — which forecast declines at the three oilfields off Newfoundland, based on estimates from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board — to an announcement in May that boosted production estimates due to deferred repairs at the Terra Nova production ship, to today’s announcement of the 18.8 million barrels.
“We now believe, based on what they’re telling us, that production’s going to be up about 18, 19 million barrels. So at $108 a barrel US, do the math,” he told the audience at a conference for the International Council of Shopping Centers, at the Delta Hotel in St. John’s. “So our surplus that we projected — other things being equal, of course — will be much higher than we had forecast.”
After the luncheon address, Marshall noted that first-quarter oil prices averaged well above the US$108 estimate used by the provincial government in this year’s budget, meaning more money for provincial coffers — but he said things could turn around, and noted that increased production this year means less production in the future.
“It’s only the first quarter. We still have the rest of the year to go, but it’s looking really good,” he said, adding that surplus revenue would go towards the province’s debt.