Premier draws line in sand for Exxon

James McLeod
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Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy speak to media. –Photo by Keith Gosse

Premier Kathy Dunderdale drew a "line in the sand" today, telling ExxonMobil that if they try to take construction work out of the province, there's going to be trouble.

Dunderdale was responding to comments made by Hebron project manager Geoff Parker at the NOIA conference this morning.

There is a dispute resolution process if ExxonMobil decides that it cannot build all the agreed-upon modules for the Hebron production rig here in Newfoundland.

But Dunderdale said today she feels like Exxon already has its mind made up before they even start negotiating.

The drilling equipment set is a fabrication project worth roughly $100 million.

Ultimately, if Exxon decides to take the construction elsewhere, they could have to pay penalties, but Dunderdale said that's not what she's interested in.

The government places a higher premium on economic activity and labour than in monetary compensation, because it builds the workforce and the construction capacity here.

Organizations: Exxon

Geographic location: Hebron, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Fred from Brigus
    June 22, 2012 - 06:35

    Watch out boys...THE CHINESE ARE do the work cheaper so Exxon can made more profits. The hell with NL and the taxpayers. The Chineese have already invaded the USA winning BILLIONS of $$$$$$$$$$ in contracts to build bridges bringing their own workforce and materials with them while thousands of Americans sit idly by unemployed. We just gotta get use to it.

  • what a joke
    June 21, 2012 - 21:53

    i wonder where dunderdale drawed the line in the sand at.i would love to see the line cause that is all she is capable of doing is drawing lines

  • Enough Already
    June 21, 2012 - 21:32

    I am sure that Exxon are shaking in their boots from listening to the premier and her cracky Jerome...get real...she should go back to being a walmart greeter and Jerome go back to whatever or wherever he came from. this is the big league and you haven't even graduated from the squirt league yet...i doubt if you can even tie your own skate laces let alone stick handle with the big boys...neither of you have the "smarts" of a Danny so don't even try...too bad we have no one in government at the present time that has passed public speaking let alone try negotiating 101....

  • Hawthorne
    June 21, 2012 - 19:37

    A couple of things we should be aware of: 1. Newfoundland companies are accessing opportunities to build modules here in Newfoundland from Alberta and elsewhere. Should we be looking the gift horse in the mouth? As they say. 2. Skilled Newfoundland workers are working in other parts of of the Country and World. Why can't we get them back to work in Newfoundland? 3. We can't supply the labour to build this module, without extending the schedule of delivering oil. How much revenues and royalties will be lost while we're waiting for the unions to man-up their halls? 4. The government has to posture itself in defence of the agreement, but the global realities are setting in. We cannot do it all.

  • Turry from town
    June 21, 2012 - 18:59

    Looks like ExxonMobil are upto their tricks again just like they were when Danny was Premier.Stick to your guns cathy.

  • MudderL
    June 21, 2012 - 18:39

    All these naysayers....what if they were doing nothing? NL'ders have been stepped all over before and our resources given away, big koodoos to this government who refuse to let this happen again. The jobs should stay here in the province. If these companies want our oil, we shouldn't settle for anything less than total benefits for NL and our people!

  • Mike
    June 21, 2012 - 17:44

    We can't even get Newfoundlanders to work in the fish plants, and have to import workers from Thailand.. The skilled labor isn't here to finish the overpass, and it CERTAINLY isn't here for a project of this magnitude. Anybody who has followed the news for the past 4-6 months will know that the staffing agencies were echoing this constantly - THE LABOR IS NOT HERE! What's your solution, pro-Dunders? These aren't dog houses we're building, they're major major oil platforms and require labor we don't seem to have. I'd be interested in seeing numbers and data related to the work.

  • David
    June 21, 2012 - 17:39

    Straight from the book of Danny...when in trouble, pick a fight with Goliath --- an oil company is perfect, but the feds or a paper company will do. You can hear the masses beginning to murmur....and Kathy's fate may now be sainthood instead of lynching. Place of Pathetically Predictable Politics.

  • Raymond
    June 21, 2012 - 16:22

    It will be the same as the original Hibernia Project, Newfoundlanders had to leave the Province to look for work while they brought them from other parts of the World and people from the Province went elsewhere to work. They are crying a shortages of tradesman, but 1000s of tradesman commute to Fort McMurray every month for work because they can't find work at home. But if your from Eastern Europe or Asia or the Phillipines you can have a job. Some things will never change because your Premier as no back bone. Let Exon pull out and go somewhere else for there oil, and eventually they will come back on YOUR TERMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • whocares
    June 21, 2012 - 16:15

    She better look at the contract. With the price of oil falling now, and no end in site, she better be careful she doesn't drive them away permanently. Something is better than nothing.

  • Harvey
    June 21, 2012 - 15:50

    Has premier K come to realize whose side PREMIER WILLIAMS was on all the time ? Now you have to follow in his shoes, Kathy !!!

  • Don
    June 21, 2012 - 14:49

    Good for you Premier. Let the oil stay in the ground. One day a serious developer will come along and meet the Newfoundland requirements for developing the field.

  • Scott Free
    June 21, 2012 - 13:50

    Stop with the postering Kathy & Jerome! Refer to the construction contract between the government of NL and Exxon; surely, it's written plainly....all 3 modules MUST be built in NL! Get on with it Exxon! Or, is it possible that the Danny Damage Era administration and its brainchild, the Dunderdale regime, could have simply overlooked the province's interests? Yet another monumental disaster of the Tory dictatorship? This is exactly why we need Freedom of Information Legislation that protects the public's interests and not serve to cover up government's ineptness. Either Exxon is right, or government is right; which is it? Expose the truth and disclose the contract.

  • Political watcher
    June 21, 2012 - 13:33

    Politics 101 yet again; create a distraction from real issues: by appearing to take on the Oil Companies she is betting that the public will line up behind her. Remember, it was her very own Transportation Minister who was in the media a short while ago saying that the overpass will be a year or so late due to the shortage of labour. Now, if they can't complete the overpass on time or budget how does she expect to build a offshore module on time and budget. Dopn't buy it people, you are only playing into her hands.

  • doggy do
    June 21, 2012 - 13:24

    "Well, Mr Speaker, there is a line in the sand Mr Speaker, and there will be trouble Mr Speaker". Exxon must be shaking in their boots. With Jerome around, no wonder there will be trouble.

  • dantheman
    June 21, 2012 - 13:13

    The oil company will not pull out.. If Newfoundlanders don't built it I'd say don't build it".. The oil companies are looking for the cheapest approch..Is it not enough that the quality of oil is excellent and requires minimum refinery which maximizes profits.. Newfoundlanders need to be untied and clear to all oil companies. .You want to make money, then so does the common Newfoundlander, & many of us would like to come home without having to take a pay cut to do so..BE STRONG.. If the Alberta oil companies are profiting billions each quarter considering the cash cost per barrel here in the oil sands & they can afford to pay appropriate wages, then I ask why can't the oil companies do the same in NFLD? The cost per barrel is 50% less and the oil quality is far greater

  • Cold Future
    June 21, 2012 - 13:04

    Wait a minute. Didn't we announce that we were a 5%? partner in this project. Didn't we tout the benefits that come from having a seat at the table-not to forget the risks we also take on. What gives?????????

  • Joseph McGrath
    June 21, 2012 - 12:43

    The premier is right on this matter.If they refuse to do the work in NL then hit them as hard as possible.Some oil companies,not all,are about taking,taking and when the resourse runs out they hit the road.I support you on this one Ms..Dunderdale!!!

  • Simply say
    June 21, 2012 - 12:34

    Premier Dunderdale say "NO"! When HEBRON understands what "No" means from the perspective of a Newfoundland and Labrador government then at some point in time they will march right back. After all natural resources takes a Billion years or more to grow and down the road when China, India and rest of the World comes back on stream in re developing their economies, we will have no problem. I hope this is not a ruse by our Premier to make her electorate think that she has done all that she could to procure what belongs to us that should be be manufactured here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and after a spell she will give in to HEBRON. Premier Dunderdale "No should mean No" on this one! We want no more giveaways of our raw resources. Please read in the address below what Canadian Economist Jim Standford had to say about the mistakes made in Newfoundland and Labrador around resources development and the fact we have not being able to grow an economy here despite our great natural resource base. The last 3 and half minutes of the address is all that you need of your time to understand.

  • California Pete from NFLD
    June 21, 2012 - 12:20

    BYE - BYE !!!!

  • Don II
    June 21, 2012 - 12:11

    The fat is in the fire now for sure. By making threats at Exxon the Government of Newfoundland is back to acting like a dictatorship again. It appears that this time there is a female dictator in charge. With the price of oil at $79 and headed down to $50 a barrel, the boss of Exxon should tell the Dictator Princess that one more sideways word from her and Exxon will pull the drills, cap the wells and haul up the anchors on the rigs and kiss Newfoundland Goodbye. The oil companies should leave and stay away until such time as ethical people with a grain of sense are in charge of the Government in Newfoundland and Labrador. If Exxon and the other oil companies buckle under to the Dictator Princess and her gang there will be no end to the demands, threats, power grabs and one sided royalty contracts that the Government of Newfoundland will be trying to ram down the oil companies throats to extract more money from them to pay for the mismanagement of the Newfoundland economy.

    • Watchdog
      June 21, 2012 - 13:10

      Whose side are you on, Don?

  • brizer
    June 21, 2012 - 11:30

    If it wasnt taking over 2 months (and counting) to process visa applications for vital members of the design/construction teams coming into St.John's to do the Drilling Modules of the Hebron Project maybe Exxon Mobile wouldnt be getting so nervous. Mrs.Dunderdale should be putting a rocket up her own people and be hiring additional staff to cope with the increase in visa requirements. This Project has been in the planning stage for a very long time, surely the office dealing with these visa's should have expected a surge in visa applications and have the people in place to deal with the requirements of such a large International Project efficiently. Rather than posturing in front of the media Premier Dunderdale should be getting her own house in order.

  • NowIsee
    June 21, 2012 - 11:19

    So lets see. They are always talking about a lack of skilled people here to do the work. But am I reading that we have the people and resources here to do it all now? I dont believe this govt knows what is going on at all. Wont be long before the oil companies pull out because this bunch is so difficult to deal with.

    • David
      June 21, 2012 - 21:14

      No one in government will be putting their own lives on the line working on a platform with a module built below spec by a workforce without adequate skill. Again...we get the government we deserve.

  • S. Winslow
    June 21, 2012 - 11:14

    If government places a higher premium on economic activity and labour than in monetary compensation to build the workforce and the construction capacity, then why did you negotiate a deal that let this module walk right out the door?

    • Abu Simbal
      June 21, 2012 - 12:43

      You must eat "non-sequitor" cereal for breakfast?

    • Willi Makit
      June 21, 2012 - 13:32

      The agreement was renegotiated by none other than ''no more giveaways'' himself.