Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. unveils plan to double oil production by 2030, speed up development process

Advance 2030 is the name of the new plan unveiled Monday for growing the province's oil and gas sector.

Another goal is to lay the foundation for a natural gas industry in the province within the next 12 years

The Hibernia oil platform drills for oil off Newfoundland's east coast. (CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government launched a new plan on Monday for growing the oil and gas sector.

Highlights of Advance 2030 include doubling offshore oil production by 2030 through reducing development time for projects and laying the foundation for a natural gas industry.

Last month, the province's Oil and Gas Industry Development Council started looking at ways to grow the industry, providing government with 17 focus areas which include actions ranging from the short to long term.

Offshore oil

Targets for the offshore oil industry include drilling more than 100 new exploration wells and tapping into multiple basins to produce more than 650,000 barrels of oil per day from new and existing projects.

The council estimates that there are more than 37 billion barrels to be drilled off the coast of Newfoundland, and that currently less than seven per cent is accounted for by licensed drilling operations.

To get going on tapping into those reserves, the province wants to reduce project development time for offshore projects to seven years.

Dwight Ball speaks to reporters after announcing the Advance 2030 oil and gas plan. (CBC)

At Monday's announcement at The Rooms in St. John's, Premier Dwight Ball called the plan "ambitious, but achievable."

Despite the impending carbon tax and a growing trend toward green energy, Ball said it's not the time to slack off on developing more oil projects, as the world still very much wants to buy Brent Crude.

"There is still a thirst for oil and gas throughout the world," Ball said.

"The transition from where we are today with oil and gas to green energy will take quite some time. So while that transition is occurring and taking place, the world will still need oil and gas."

Natural gas

Advance 2030 also aims to get the province more involved in commercial natural gas production.

With more than 133 trillion cubic feet of gas potential surrounding the province, Ball said now is the time to start laying the foundation of that industry so that it will be in full swing within 12 years.

A new plan announced by the N.L. government aims to start laying the groundwork for a natural gas industry in the province before 2030.

"We already know there are tremendous reserves out there. If we do not put targets in place and the mechanism to get there, the fact is if you don't do that and challenge people it will never get done," he said.

"So the development council themselves has set a target and they feel that we have tremendous reserves out there that could lead to a commercial gas industry off our province."

With files from Peter Cowan