Before oil can be produced, it has to be found and assessed. This is where exploration comes in. The first step is for a company to explore seismically, which means specialized equipment will bounce sound waves off the ground or ocean floor, then record and analyze the data to get an idea of where oil is located and about how much is present. If the data looks good, exploratory wells are drilled using drill rigs to learn more about the size and make-up of the oil field.
In addition to the established oil fields currently producing offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, exploration is taking place in several regions offshore, as well as onshore on the West Coast of the island.
Oil exploration offshore Newfoundland and Labrador is really just beginning. We currently have about 150 wells drilled in the ocean surrounding our province. In the North Sea offshore Norway – where the oil & gas industry is more mature – there are over 4000 wells drilled!
In 2013, the largest oil discovery in the world was made in the Flemish Pass Basin, off the east coast of Newfoundland.