After oil has been found and assessed, a facility must be brought on-site and installed to develop the oil field. The facility then begins extracting the oil so that it can be refined and sold.
There are three producing installations offshore Newfoundland and Labrador: the Hibernia Gravity Base Structure (GBS) and two FPSOs, the SeaRose and the Terra Nova.
A GBS is a fixed structure which sits on the seabed, has drilling and production topsides, and can store oil. An FPSO – Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading – vessel looks much like a ship with equipment on top (“topsides”) and has the ability to disconnect and move off location if needed.
Oil wells on the Grand Banks are drilled by separate drilling rigs, which connect the oil flow back to the installation through a network of subsea flowlines.
A fourth installation, the Hebron GBS, is under construction and oil production is expected to begin around the end of 2017.
Terra Nova FPSO
The Terra Nova oil field was discovered in 1984 and produced its first oil in 2002. Current estimates are that it has 516 million barrels of recoverable oil and is expected to produce until 2022.
The Terra Nova FPSO, which is in place to extract the oil, is one of the largest FPSO vessels ever built. It is 292.2 metres long and 45.5 metres wide – approximately the size of three football fields laid end to end. From the keel to the helideck, it stands more than 18 stories high. The Terra Nova FPSO can store 960,000 barrels of oil and accommodate up to 120 personnel while producing.
The White Rose field was discovered in 1984 and produced its first oil in 2005. It is currently estimated to hold 200-250 barrels of recoverable oil from the core field and another 200-250 barrels in its satellite extensions.
The SeaRose FPSO, which is in place to extract the White Rose oil, stretches 272 metres long by 46 metres wide. It has enough on-board capacity to hold 90 crew and 940,000 barrels of oil.
The Hibernia oil field was discovered in 1979 and produced its first oil in 1997. It has an estimated 1.2 million barrels of recoverable oil and is expected to produce beyond 2020.
The Hibernia gravity base structure (GBS), which is in place to extract Hibernia oil, is 224 metres high and weighs 1.2 million tons.
Hebron GBS (beginning 2017)
The Hebron oil field was discovered in 1980 and is estimated to hold more than 700 million barrels of recoverable resources.
The Hebron field will be developed using a gravity base structure (GBS), much like the Hibernia GBS. It will consist of a reinforced concrete structure designed to withstand sea ice, icebergs and meteorological and oceanographic conditions. It will be capable of storing approximately 1.2 million barrels of crude oil.