Canadian Manufacturing

Oil and gas development in N.L. gets corporate research money

Statoil is teaming with Newfoundland and Labrador to research oil and gas extraction in harsh environments like the Arctic



ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Statoil Canada and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador will spend $3.9 million to advance oil and gas development in harsh environments, including the Arctic.

Statoil said June 10 it will spend $2.4 million on three new research projects while Crown corporation Research and Development Corp. will spend $1.5 million.

One initiative led by Kvaerner Canada Ltd., which specializes in offshore engineering and construction, looks at Arctic subsea oil and gas separation technology.

St. John’s-based Rutter Inc., developers of advanced radar systems, will research ways to automatically detect and predict ice movement.

Engineering and project management consultants AMEC Americas Ltd., will help Statoil develop an ice surveillance system including remote sensing capability.

“There is high potential for us to deliver results that support offshore developments both (for) offshore Newfoundland, in other sub-Arctic regions and into the Arctic one day,” said Atle Aadland, Statoil Canada’s vice-president for offshore Newfoundland.

The announcement is another step as the province tries to position itself as a centre for Arctic and harsh environment expertise.

Newfoundland and Labrador relies on offshore oil for about one-third of provincial revenues. It has also invested heavily in seismic surveys to spur exploration and international investment.

Crown corporation Nalcor Energy, which has spent $12 million of its oil earnings on geoscience programs since 2009, announced last month it will expand that work along the island’s south coast with another $11.8 million for similar projects this fiscal year.

The Norwegian energy firm Statoil announced in February that it will begin exploration drilling off Newfoundland this summer in the Flemish Pass Basin.

It will involve the Bay du Nord prospect, a reservoir of light crude believed to hold between 300 and 600 million barrels of recoverable oil. Located about 500 kilometres northeast of St. John’s, the subsea oilfield is farther offshore and in 1,100 metres of water compared to other sites like Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose that are about 100 metres down.

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