The latest meeting of the Hebron Public Review Commission began with the Hebron project manager announcing a change of plans.
As planned, Kiewit’s facility at Marystown is being looked at for construction of Hebron’s drilling support module, Hebron project manager Geoff Parker said, addressing the public review session at the Marystown Hotel Wednesday.
The topsides piece would be the largest and most complex piece of offshore construction ever to be built at the yard.
However, while the project leaders had been looking at the Kiewit yard to build a second, smaller module — the drilling equipment module — Kiewit “concluded we weren’t going to be able to build both modules at the same site,” he said.
No contracts have yet been signed for any construction of modules.
Yet Parker stated Marystown could not be considered for two.
A call for expressions of interest has been put out to see if the second module might be built elsewhere in the province, as required under the Atlantic Accord.
Yet with the chance Kiewit could be occupied with the drilling support module and the Bull Arm site being used for the living quarters module, the province’s two largest and go-to sites are already filled up with work.
If there are no reasonable offers here, the call will expand to Canada, the U.S. and then beyond.
Parker said the decision came, in part, from design changes that saw the two modules being considered for construction in the Marystown area expand in size, as did the living quarters module. In total, the two pieces expected to be built in the province would still fulfill promises made within the project’s benefits agreement, he said.
NOIA president and CEO Robert Cadigan said it was the first he was hearing of the change and his board would have to collectively consider the decision. However, he did not immediately share the project manager’s positive viewpoint.
“We believe that it’s the proponents responsibility to find a way to do these three modules in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Cadigan told The Telegram.
Those representing businesses and residents on the Burin Peninsula at the public review meeting did not challenge the announcement.
There was, however, a concensus of the project being positive for the area, with few direct reservations.
“The Hebron project will be many things to many people, but a lot of our grassroots members realize it will not be the end all, be all,” president of the Burin Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Ian Edwards, told the Hebron Public Review Commission.
As for tapping Hebron for all its possible worth: “We believe we’ve done our part in getting ready,” he said, noting the resolution of a labour dispute at the Kiewit facility with a five-year agreement in place, which should be long enough to cover any Hebron work.
Marystown Mayor Sam Synard said oil companies operating projects in Alberta remain the community’s largest employers and the earnings of transient skilled workers has been making its way back to the community.
The trick now, said Synard, is developing a local industry that can move beyond boom-and-bust, project-to-project employment and into sustainable employment in order to allow the transient workforce to settle at home.
The latest session is the first of the Hebron Public Review Sessions to be held outside of St. John’s. This session will be the only public review session held on the Burin Peninsula.