The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board has approved the development application for the Hebron oil project.

The decision by the C-NLOPB follows a public review process.

The board approved Hebron's benefits plan and development plan last month. The federal and provincial governments have ratified the decision.

That clears the way for ExxonMobil to develop Hebron, which will become the province's fourth producing oil field when it comes on stream.

The field is estimated to contain 707-million barrels of oil.

Last month, project operator ExxonMobil told CBC News that work on the drydock facilities at Bull Arm began in January.

Detailed design work is also expected to begin this year.

The project could receive sanction this year, with construction of the gravity-based structure moving forward by the end of 2012.

The Hebron co-venturers are ExxonMobil Canada Properties (36 per cent), Chevron Canada Resources (26.7 per cent), Suncor Energy Inc. (22.7 per cent), Statoil Canada (9.7 per cent) and Nalcor Energy (4.9 per cent).