Lynn Ann Nicholosi said she is very happy to return to her hometown of St. John's to pursue her career in the oil industry. ((CBC))

Lynn Ann Nicholosi's new office in downtown St. John's is a long way from the gleaming office towers of Houston, Texas, but the oil executive is hardly complaining.

Where it once took Nicholosi an hour to commute to her old job, the new business manager of the Hebron project gets to her job in just four minutes.

"[It's] just a very exciting project," said Nicholosi, a St. John's native who said she is delighted to be able to raise her three-year-old son amid family.

On Wednesday, ExxonMobil officially opened its new office in St. John's. Nicholosi said she believes Hebron will bring other expatriate workers home.

"I came out of college in '95 and worked on the Hibernia project, and I think I can bring a lot of the experience I've gained in the last 15 years back to [this] project," said Nicholosi, whose career has already taken her to such places as Nigeria, Malaysia and Australia.

In the next year, Nicholosi will oversee the letting of some major contracts. Bids on a gravity-based system and the topsides of the planned platform are due in December. They will then be evaluated, and contracts are expected to be awarded in the spring of 2010.

Nicholosi said there will be plenty of work for others who might like to come home.

"From the trades level right up to the engineering and technical and management level, there's going to be lots of opportunities, not just for those people but for the local business community," she said.

To date, Hebron has let about $17 million in smaller contracts, with about $14 million going to local companies.