Nalcor touts bold vision for Bull Arm

Beyond Hebron, corporation plans year-round site with steady fabrication work

Published on June 7, 2012
Big plans are in the works for the Bull Arm fabrication site, near Come By Chance. — Submitted photo

The Bull Arm fabrication site will see a flurry of industrial activity once the bulk of local work on the Hebron project gets underway. The current lease with ExxonMobil Canada runs to 2017.

“(Hebron) is going to be an exciting project for Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Ed Martin, Nalcor Energy president and CEO.  

That said, Nalcor is already looking to what will happen at the fabrication site post-Hebron.

Nalcor took over the Bull Arm site March 31, 2009. Bull Arm was originally developed in the 1990s, for construction of topsides components and the massive base of Hibernia.

Martin laid out the long-term plan being considered for the site at the Delta in St. John’s Wednesday morning, while addressing a gathering of about 150, a meeting on major project investments hosted by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

“Our vision for the Bull Arm site is to change that from a project site,” he said, adding Nalcor is looking at Bull Arm having less work by volume, but steady work, so the site does not have to close up for years at a time, awaiting the next offshore oil development.

“Our vision is to turn that around and make that a fabrication site,” he said.

Martin said Bull Arm would be open year-round with “consistent management and labour.”

This will be accomplished by competing worldwide for steady fabrication work, servicing international projects.

The Crown corporation’s website already promotes Bull Arm to international interests. “Close to international shipping lanes and Europe, the site has unobstructed, deepwater access to the Atlantic Ocean, and is centrally located in the North Atlantic to service major developments in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and West Africa,” it states.

The Bull Arm site — about 150 kilometres from St. John’s and near the established communities of Sunnyside, Arnold's Cove and Come By Chance — actually refers to a collection of three separate sites in the same area. The three sites each have their own infrastructure and are designed for topsides fabrication, drydock builds and deepwater construction.

According to Nalcor, the topsides area covers 120,000 square metres and includes an administration building, pipe shop, assembly hall, blast or paint shop, heated warehouse and “fully-equipped module fabrication hall.”

The drydock site, meanwhile, covers 140,000 square metres, with a 9,000-square-metre pipe shop and rebar building with 10 overhead cranes. In addition, there is a warehouse building and “marine facilities.”

The deepwater area has a dock area and a water depth of 150-180 metres.

The site brought in $3.7 million to Nalcor in 2011, up from $1.1 million in 2010.