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Newfoundland offshore a ‘rising star’ in Equinor’s operations

Equinor's executive vice -president of international development and production Torgrim Reitan (left), and Equinor Canada’s vice-president of offshore Newfoundland Unni Fjaer.
Equinor's executive vice -president of international development and production Torgrim Reitan (left), and Equinor Canada’s vice-president of offshore Newfoundland Unni Fjaer. - Juanita Mercer

Equinor executives have faith in province's oilpatch despite industry concerns regarding Bill C-69

Equinor says it’s ready to spend exploration money in the province’s offshore, and has ambitions to bring a drilling rig offshore again in the future.

With a $6.8-billion investment announced last year in its Bay du Nord deep-water project, the company’s executive vice -president of international development and production called the province’s offshore a “rising star” amongst its portfolio of operations in 21 countries.

“We have Norway, Brazil and the U.S. as sort of the three core areas where we have significant operations, and then we have a lot of countries with operations but not that large, and then we have a handful of countries where we see these countries can really become very significant for us, and Canada is one of those, and Newfoundland is one of those,” said Torgrim Reitan, who spoke with The Telegram at the company’s Steer’s Cove office on Wednesday. Reitan was in St. John’s briefly for company meetings. 

“It is a rising star in the portfolio, and you know, with the Bay du Nord development and exploration success going forward, we think this can really be an interesting part of the future.

Reitan’s visit comes on the heels of the controversial passing of Bill C-69. While many in the energy sector, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association (Noia), have expressed concerns the coming legislative changes will mean lengthier delays in project approvals, Reitan was optimistic for the company’s future in this province. 

“It is an area where we do see opportunity, and we see Canada growing to be something much more significant for Equinor going forward than it has been in the past.”

"...we see Canada growing to be something much more significant for Equinor going forward than it has been in the past.” — Torgrim Reitan

Sitting next to Reitan, Equinor Canada’s vice-president of offshore Newfoundland, Unni Fjaer said the company is interested in reducing the length of some of the impact assessment processes. 

Regarding the possible outcomes of Bill C-69, she said the most important thing is that there’s a predictable process, including knowing the terms before a project begins.

“As long as we know what the requirements are, so it’s predictable, we will be able to cope with it.”

Meanwhile, Reitan said everything is moving along with Bay du Nord, with first oil expected in the mid-2020s. He said he cannot make guarantees on that timeframe, but it’s a goal.

“It’s going to take quite a bit of effort. But that is said, I mean we have worked very significantly to improve the project and make it possible to execute on, and we are almost there, so we are getting there – we have the plan to sanction it and bring it into production.”

If first oil is extracted by 2025, that will mean a 12-year turnaround from discovery to production for Bay du Nord, something Reitan said is comparable to Equinor projects elsewhere.

Twitter: @juanitamercer_ 


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