Husky reconsiders plans at North Amethyst

Ashley Fitzpatrick
Published on January 21, 2012
The GSF Grand Banks has been out of commission since an accident involving a supply vessel before Christmas.

Husky Energy has put forward an amended plan for its ongoing work at the White Rose significant discovery area. The new plan would see the company tapping into more oil in the near future, as part of its White Rose extension work.

The oil to be tapped - an estimated 60-75 million barrels (original oil in place) - is found within the so-called Hibernia formation at the North Amethyst extension field. The Hibernia formation is located directly below the better-known Ben Nevis/Avalon formation.

An amended development plan document was filed by Husky Energy with the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) on Dec. 20. It outlines how Husky might tap the Hibernia formation (not to be confused with the long-standing Hibernia development) with only minor changes to plans already approved.

Husky has stated it can safely reach and extract the additional oil and, if approved, would move on the new plan and into the Hibernia formation by late 2013/early 2014.

According to the document submitted to the CNLOPB, the work would require no new contracts and no new hires, although it would cost an estimated $168 million.

The same production vessel would be used. Spare drill slots from existing work on Ben Nevis/Avalon would be used to access the reservoir below.

"The wells would be drilled from existing infrastructure in the North Amethyst Drill Centre, with production to flow to the SeaRose FPSO, the same as production from the top layer of the North Amethyst field (Ben Nevis/Avalon formation)," said Colleen McConnell, spokeswoman for Husky Energy.

"The drilling could be supported by the GSF Grand Banks, which is the rig we have used for development drilling at White Rose and North Amethyst," she said.

There would be one production well, with the potential for more if required. There will be one water injection well. That injection well is already set, as a result of work conducted under existing approvals, McConnell stated.

The CNLOPB has forwarded Husky's amended development plan to both the provincial and federal ministers of Natural Resources and is reviewing the document in-house for completeness.

The board has determined there will not be a public review of the amended plan. A final decision on the plan has yet to be made.

Production at the main White Rose field began in 2005, with estimated reserves of between 200 and 250-million barrels of oil. Since then, work has begun in developing satellite fields, expected to almost double the size of White Rose production.

North Amethyst, the Ben Nevis/Avalon, was the first of these satellite fields from which oil was produced. First oil at North Amethyst was in May 2010.

Husky is operator on the White Rose extension work, partnered with Suncor Energy (with a 26 per cent stake) and Nalcor Energy (at five per cent).