At the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industry Association (Noia) conference in 2016, Nalcor Energy executive vice-president for offshore development Jim Keating brought news about Cape Freels, a potentially massive deep-water prospect in the West Orphan basin.
On Monday, opening day for the 34th annual Noia conference, Keating returned with more good news: a potentially significant find in the West Orphan Basin they have dubbed Raleigh, Son of Cape Freels.
Keating says it’s too early to apply a number to the resource amount, but it could be the next monster-like find.
“When you look at it spatially and when you look at it as a size of container, it is likely in the top 10 per cent of prospects not only in Newfoundland and Labrador’s jurisdiction, but likely around the world, that companies look at these days,” Keating said.
“When you're trying to attract the investment of multinational oil and gas companies that can go anywhere, if you can put a prospect in front of them that's in the top 10 per cent of prospects that they will see anywhere, that's why it merits a name and a spot on my screen.”
For those looking to get a sense of how big it is, Hibernia’s structure was about 150 square kilometres. Raleigh is close to double that.
What sets it apart from other potential prospects is that the resource is stacked as opposed to fanned out, which makes for easier production.
“With single wells, you can turn on and off zones, you can probably get a lot more efficiency out of your per well production.
Nalcor and Beicip-Franlab are currently completing a resource and basin wide assessment, with results available in August or early September. The parcel is available in the 2018 licence round set to close this November.
“It shows that our geology is as comparable to the North Sea or anywhere else for that matter,” Keating says. “Any time we look at any kind of reasonable tract of land, invariably there's prospects in there that are really interesting, not only to us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, but interesting to investors whose people and money we need to attract.”
As for future exploration, Keating says Nalcor will maintain the same investment in seismic activity — ball parked between $20 million and $30 million over the last few years.
“Any more, you're going to miss something and you're going to cut some corners,” he says. “Any less, you're not doing the licence round service.”