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Hebron showcased before tow-out


A few weeks before the Hebron offshore oil platform is pulled away from the Newfoundland coast and towed about 350 kilometres offshore, schedules were lined up Tuesday, with politicians and company reps gathered.

There were hard-hatted tours of the largely completed platform, complete with a stop for photos on the helideck of the $14-billion facility.

It all wrapped up with a handful of speeches and a cutting of chains — nine, standing in for the platform’s massive mooring chains. The chain cutting (a substitute for ribbon cutting), was done by government members and leads from the Hebron project partners: ExxonMobil Canada, Suncor, Statoil and Nalcor Energy.

Employment during the construction peaked in September 2014 with 7,500 people working on Hebron in the province. The platform continues to be supported and worked on from Nalcor Energy’s Bull Arm Fabrication Site. However, the focus is now turned to the tow-out and long-term operations.

The tow-out is expected to begin in May, taking a couple of weeks to complete, with weather a significant factor in exact dates for the move.

But platform construction, according to project manager Geoff Parker, has included over 40 million person hours of work without a lost-time injury.

“That’s truly incredible for a project of this size and scale,” he said, to applause from invited guests, who were there for a look before the goliath heads offshore.

The guest list included municipal, provincial and federal government members, supplier reps, lead contractors and notable names such as Hebron Public Review Commissioner Miller Ayre, Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board chairman and CEO Scott Tessier, and Noia president and CEO Bob Cadigan.

They were there to appreciate a megaproject put through public review in 2011, launched in 2012, and now all but completed.

Speeches did not mention emissions or climate change, there was a single surface reference to the dispute over in-province building and little noted on the current crash in employment, tied in part to yet another concluding megaproject.

But there was an appreciation for Hebron work.

The oil targeted in the development was discovered in 1980. With the means of production now available, first oil is expected by the end of this year.

The provincial government, given the current pricing and outlook, expects it will produce $10 billion in oil royalties and other financial benefits, with an estimated 700 million barrels of recoverable oil available.

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