Heating Up in Icy Waters
Offshore Eastern Canada is showing signs of life as new project commitments are firmed up and idled projects roar to life.
It was an area once thought to be the last untapped jewel in the hunt for hydrocarbons in the Great White North—a frontier of equal parts promise and peril. The lure of massive oil deposits lurking miles below its icy waters had operators taking a hard look at offshore Eastern Canada as far back as the late 1960s; however initial production from the area—Cohasset-Panuke off Nova Scotia—did not begin until 1992. Logistical challenges related to the remote area and the lack of existing infrastructure made bringing on new production in the region an expensive proposition. The discovered fields would need to be sizable to warrant the required investment.
After decades of fits and starts, offshore Eastern Canada has yielded just a handful of major developments, with the best of those facing their own sets of challenges. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Terra Nova, the first development in North America to use floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) technology in a harsh-weather environment featuring sea ice and icebergs, came on line in 2002, but has been suspended for the past 3 years due to issues with the vessel.
White Rose, another FPSO-based development, came on stream in late 2005 via subsea wells tied back to the SeaRose vessel.