ExxonMobil Corp. has sanctioned its massive Hebron oilfield development offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, a $14 billion project that is slated to recover more than 70 million boe, an uptick from earlier estimates.

The platform on Canada’s East Coast is being designed for daily production of 150,000 bbl of oil beginning in late 2017. The Hebron field is offshore Newfoundland and Labrador in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin more than 200 miles southeast of the capital of St. John’s and about 19 miles southeast of ExxonMobil’s Hibernia project. Water depth is around 300 feet.

“Hebron is one of several large-scale oil developments that ExxonMobil will bring on stream in the next five years,” said ExxonMobil Development Co. President Neil W. Duffin. “ExxonMobil will employ its expertise in Arctic development and project execution to develop this world-class resource in challenging operating conditions.”

Hebron’s development is expected to employ up to 3,500 during construction, and generate royalties and taxes to fund provincial infrastructure, social programs and services. The project received regulatory approval in May from the province and Canada.

As envisioned, the project would use a stand-alone gravity-based structure consisting of reinforced concrete that could withstand sea ice, icebergs and meteorological and oceanographic conditions, according to ExxonMobil. The base would be designed to store around 1.2 million bbl of crude oil and support an integrated topsides deck that includes living quarters and facilities to perform drilling and production.

Front-end engineering and design was completed last year. Current cost estimates “reflect advanced project definition and current market and foreign exchange rates,” the oil major stated. The gravity-based structure is being constructed in the provincial town of Bull Arm. Topsides fabrication is expected to begin later this year.

Hebron would be operated by affiliate ExxonMobil Canada Properties, which holds a 36% stake. Partners are Chevron Canada Ltd. (26.7%); Suncor Energy Inc. (22.7%); Statoil Canada (9.7%); and Nalcor Energy Oil and Gas (4.9%). Chevron officials last month said a big focus on their 2013 capital expenditure program would be directed to offshore projects, including Hebron (see Daily GPI, Dec. 7, 2012).

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