The Hebron topside facilities were attached to the concrete gravity based structure (GBS) at Bull Arm this week, marking another major step for the oil project, as it starts to look more like a completed rig.

"It's a very, very key milestone of the project," Bob Cadigan, said Thursday.

Cadigan is president and CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association, or NOIA.

He said the project is now much closer to completion, to "get everything lined up, all the pipes connected."

Hebron Project Dec 13/14

The Hebron project reached another major milestone this week at Bull Arm. (Hebron)

Cadigan said Hebron is one of many projects in Newfoundland and Labrador coming to the end of its life, as construction wraps up.

"There is a transition now from the development phase in which there was a high degree of employment, to the operations phase where we'll have fewer people but working for the next 30 years," he said.

"So it's a very positive thing."

Hebron platform Bull Arm

A night-time shot from Bull Arm, as the Hebron topsides module arrives Dec. 13. (Submitted by Frankie Donahue)

ExxonMobil Canada, the lead partner of Hebron, said work to join the topsides and GBS was completed Dec. 13 and 14.

"To do that operation, we picked up the topsides with two barges, and then floated them over the top of the GBS," Geoff Parker, Hebron senior project manager, said in a video provided by the company.

hebron platform Bull Arm

The Hebron topsides platform during joining process at Bull Arm on Dec 13. (Submitted by Frankie Donahue)

"The GBS is now being deballasted [removing the ballast to make it more buoyant] to pick up the topsides from the barges to form the complete Hebron platform.

"Hook up and commissioning will continue until the middle of 2017, when the complete platform will be towed to the Hebron field," Parker explained.

ExxonMobil said in June the Hebron project was 80 per cent complete, and on track to produce first oil in late 2017.

Hebron platform Bull Arm

A close-up look at part of the Hebron topsides module during the attaching process at Bull Arm, Dec. 13, 2016. (Submitted by Frankie Donahue)

With files from Mark Quinn