Global search launched for Hebron work

ExxonMobil has started an international search for someone to handle about $100 million of work associated with the Hebron oil megaproject.

But ExxonMobil willing to consider 'very recent' pitch from local company

ExxonMobil has started an international search for a company that can handle about $100 million of work associated with the Hebron oil megaproject, in the wake of revelations that the work cannot be done at a southern Newfoundland yard.

Hebron will become the fourth field off eastern Newfoundland to go into production. (Hebron Project)

But ExxonMobil also confirms that a local company has stepped forward with a proposal to do the work, and that the new offer is being seriously considered.

Margot Bruce-O'Connell, a public affairs official with Hebron operator ExxonMobil, said the deadline for completing construction is paramount, as Hebron's partners are committed to keeping a 2016 target for towing the platform to what will become Newfoundland and Labrador's fourth oil project to go into production.

"To protect the schedule, which is critical on a complex project like Hebron, the project did issue [an expression of interest] the rest of the country, nationally and internationally," Bruce-O'Connell told CBC News.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador last week revealed that Kiewit Offshore Services, which operates a shipyard in Marystown, would only be able to handle construction of one module of the three-module platform. Kiewit was originally in line to handle two modules.

Kiewit, the owner of the shipyard in Marystown, has said it can only accommodate one of the Hebron platform's topsides modules. (Kiewit)

There is still a chance that the second module could be built in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"One of the companies recently - very recently - presented another scenario that they did not present to us initially," said Bruce-O'Connell.

ExxonMobil is not identifying the company or where it might do the work, although Bruce-O'Connell said ExxonMobil will do what it can to determine if it is feasible. She noted that ExxonMobil still feels that two of the modules can be handled inside the province.

"In terms of demonstrating our co-operation with the province, we will work with that company on that alternative proposal, to asses the viability of the option they've actually just recently put forward," she said.

"If this company came back and showed that they had the capacity, they certainly would have an advantage, as a Newfoundland company."

ExxonMobil and its partners intend to draw first oil in 2017 from the Hebron field, which is about 32 kilometres southeast of Hibernia.

ExxonMobil owns a stake of 36 per cent in Hebron. The other partners are Chevron, Suncor Energy, Statoil and Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned energy corporation.