Nfld. & Labrador·Video

Hebron in the homestretch: $14B project 80 per cent complete, says ExxonMobil Canada VP

The man in charge of the ambitious Hebron Project says the platform is now 80 per cent complete and the company is on track for first oil in late 2017.

Check out the giant-sized construction project at Bull Arm

Geoff Parker, Vice President of ExxonMobil Canada gives an overview of the Hebron Project. 3:38

The man in charge of the ambitious Hebron Project says the platform is now 80 per cent complete and the company is on track for first oil in late 2017.

"This has been very successful," said Geoff Parker, the vice-president of ExxonMobil Canada and senior project manager for Hebron.

ExxonMobil Canada is the lead partner in the project, and gave reporters a tour Friday of the progress being made at the Bull Arm fabrication site in Trinity Bay.

The crucial drilling modules are nearing completion, and smaller modules such as the life boat station, heli deck and flare boom are also done.

Commissioning work is also underway on the accommodations module, a seven storey hotel with space for 220 personnel, and all the modern amenities a crew could ask for.

A milestone is planned for this summer when the massive utilities process module (UPM) ... All 35,000 tonnes of it ... arrives by boat from Korea.

All the other modules will be attached to the UPM this fall and early winter, and mated to the concrete base, which is floating just offshore in 65 metres of water.

Parker said the plan is to then tow the completed platform 350 kilometres offshore next summer, and produce first oil by the end of 2017.

"We're very proud of this project. It's taken the work of so many people," he added. "We're really happy with how the project is going."

The massive construction project is still a major employer, with 2,500 people on hire at the site. That number peaked in 2014, with more than 5,000 employees.

ExxonMobil also boasted about its safety record. Up to the end of 2015, the project recorded 50 million work hours with no lost time injuries.

Despite the collapse in oil prices, ExxonMobil says the project remains viable over the long term.

"We look at a range of oil prices to value our investments, and we still think that Hebron is very attractive," he said.

So what's next for this site?

Nalcor owns Bull Arm, and said it is actively looking for customers for after the Hebron project is completed next year.

About the Author

Terry Roberts is a journalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.