Nfld. & Labrador

Husky's N.L. priorities for 2016 include drilling at White Rose, Flemish Pass

Husky Energy plans to spend up to half a billion dollars in Newfoundland's offshore in 2016 to ensure maximum production at its White Rose oil field, and to further explore the Flemish Pass.

Still no decision on how company will proceed with West White Rose extension

This is a schematic diagram of the wellhead platform gravity base structure layout option. It is shown connected to existing infrastructure in the White Rose field, including the SeaRose FPSO. Husky says it's now re-evaluating this option. (Husky Energy)

Husky Energy plans to spend up to half a billion dollars in Newfoundland's offshore in 2016 to ensure maximum production at its White Rose oil field, and to further explore the Flemish Pass.

But the company is not yet ready to announce how it will proceed on the long-awaited West White Rose Project.

Husky is one of the leading players in the province's offshore and despite a six-year low in oil prices, the company is showing no signs of giving up that status.

While it's shedding assets in Western Canada, the company announced Tuesday it will spend between $400 and $500 million on capital expenditures next year on the east coast.

This includes hiring the Henry Goodrich semi-submersible to carry out more production and exploration drilling at satellite extensions in the White Rose field.

The company is also a 35 per cent owner of recent discoveries in the Flemish Pass, where ongoing appraisal drilling is continuing what many feel will be this province's next major oil play.

Reviewing options for development

But industry watchers will have to continue to wait for a final decision on the West White Rose extension project.

During a conference call with analysts on Tuesday, company executives said they are still reviewing options. These include a concrete gravity structure to be built at Argentia, or a possible subsea tieback to the SeaRose FPSO.

The first option, also known as a wellhead platform, comes with a steeper price — most recently estimated at $4 billion — but will allow for the recovery of more oil from the field. It is also favoured by many in the industry since it will create more economic spinoff in the province, including hundreds of construction jobs.

Husky officials would not give a timeframe on when an investment decision will be made, but said the project is still part of their mid-term development plans.

Husky announced last December it was deferring a decision on the West White Rose project for one year because of plummeting oil prices, and it was reviewing an earlier commitment to building a wellhead platform similar to Hibernia.

"Work continues to evaluate both the wellhead platform and subsea options," a Husky spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News.

Maintenance shutdowns for Terra Nova, SeaRose 

Meanwhile, Husky also announced the Terra Nova FPSO and the SeaRose FPSO will both undergo maintenance shutdowns in 2016.

The Terra Nova floating, production, storage and offloading vessel is scheduled for a 28-day shutdown in the second quarter, resulting in the loss of roughly 1,300 barrels of oil per day.

The SeaRose will cease production for 20 days in the third quarter with the loss of some 8,000 barrels per day.

Both vessels will stay in place during the maintenance shutdowns.

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