$200 million of work on Hibernia on schedule

Rig’s offshore loading system being replaced

Ashley Fitzpatrick afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com
Published on October 1, 2011
The Wellservicer, seen here in St. John’s harbour, has been used this summer for a major project at Hibernia, the replacement of components of Hibernia’s offshore loading systems. — File photo by Keith Gosse/ The Telegram

A couple of years of pre-project planning is paying off for the Hibernia Management and Development Co. (HMDC) when it comes to the $200 million worth of work ongoing at Hibernia.

HMDC is on schedule and on budget in a planned replacement of the bases of Hibernia’s two offshore loading systems.

The Hibernia gravity base structure has two main offshore pipelines that each run from the structure to an offshore loading system. These systems pump Hibernia crude from the platform onto tankers that are bound for the Whiffen Head transshipment terminal in Placentia Bay. The oil can be pumped by the systems at a rate of about 50,000 barrels an hour.

See WORK, page C3

Work estimated to cost $200 million


Each of the systems have two main parts: a base and a riser, and HMDC is currently having new bases installed.

A spokeswoman for Hibernia Management and Development Co. (HMDC), Margot Bruce-O’Connell stated Friday the work, estimated to cost $200 million, is “progressing well.” She said the project is on budget — that the original cost estimate remains accurate.

“The North offshore loading system has been replaced and is in operation,” she told The Telegram Friday. “Our goal was to complete the work by year end 2011 and we are on schedule to do so.”

HMDC began planning for the project back in the of fall 2008. The company was lining up project management, equipment and contractors, getting their ducks in a row.

This summer, Technip Canada Ltd. began using two ships, the Wellservicer and Deep Constructor, in working on Hibernia’s systems. The vessels have resupplied at the Bay Bulls Marine Terminal as needed.

Asking if the project had affected Hibernia’s productivity, The Telegram was told production was maintained throughout the summer, by using one loading system while the other was replaced.

The only hiccup that has come for the project is in the form of some contention that emerged last over a year ago, in regards to the awarding of project work.

In September 2010, a document from staff at the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB), one discussing a benefits plans for the Hibernia South extension project, noted the CNLOPB had taken issue with contracts associated with the offshore loading systems project.

“In that instance, the board identified that the process followed for fabrication services for the (offshore loading systems) base assemblies did not ensure that the full local market was provided with an opportunity to express an interest in being considered for work,” the CNLOPB stated.

Asked about the matter, representatives for both the CNLOPB and HMDC said the issue had been addressed.

“HMDC and its contractors are committed to full and fair opportunity for the local supply community,” Bruce O’Connell added.

“We met with the board to discuss this issue. We did identify opportunities for improvement in the process that our contractor followed and have communicated our expectations to the contractor and will continue to do so with all the contractors we work with.”

Both parties have agreed, as noted by CNLOPB staff in the same document, there were “lessons learned” in the development of the offshore loading systems project.