Nfld. & Labrador

Husky delays tow-out operation to west White Rose oil field by a year

Husky Energy's concrete gravity structure will be towed out to the White Rose oil field one year later than expected because it will miss the 'weather window.'

Concrete gravity structure will not be ready before critical 'weather window'

Husky Energy has revised the tow-out schedule for the concrete gravity structure being built in Argentia. It will miss the anticipated 'weather window,' causing a delay of one year. (Husky Energy)

Husky Energy is delaying the installation of the concrete gravity structure under construction at the Argentia shipyard.

The structure — which is currently 46 metres high but will be 145 metres when it's completed — was supposed to be towed out to the west White Rose field in 2021, but that has now been delayed by one year.

Trevor Pritchard, Husky's senior vice-president for the Atlantic region, said construction on the structure is behind schedule by a couple of months, and won't be ready in time to sail during the "weather window" — typically May to November for offshore Newfoundland.

The tow-out operation can happen only during the time of year when weather conditions are favourable.

"Offshore Newfoundland, we only have a certain number of weeks, maybe stretching that to months, and if we miss that weather window of a couple of months, then we've lost that for a year," Pritchard said.

Fabrication and construction will continue during that time, meaning more of the work will be completed onshore rather than offshore, and Pritchard said that does have benefits.

"Pacing will be safer generally and more cost-effective," he said.

First oil is still expected in 2022, but in the fourth quarter instead of the first. Pritchard expects drilling to begin only a few months later than originally forecast. 

Pritchard said the update is "neutral news," not good or bad.

For some of the people employed by the project, it could mean another year of steady work. 

"The workforce is going to be there," said Pritchard. "We still have the same scope, just stretching out those hours of completions."

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