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Hibernia (oil field)

For other uses of "Hibernia", see Hibernia (disambiguation).

Hibernia oil field
Hibernia oil field
Location of Hibernia oil field
Country Canada
Region North Atlantic Ocean
Location Jeanne d'Arc Basin
Offshore/onshore offshore

46°45.026′N 48°46.976′W / 46.750433°N 48.782933°W / 46.750433; -48.782933Coordinates: 46°45.026′N 48°46.976′W / 46.750433°N 48.782933°W / 46.750433; -48.782933

Operator ExxonMobil
Partners ExxonMobil, Chevron, Suncor Energy, Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation, Murphy Oil, Statoil
Field history
Discovery 1979
Start of development 1986
Start of production November 17, 1997 (November 17, 1997)
Estimated oil in place 1,395 million barrels (~1.9×10^8 t)
Recoverable oil 704 million barrels (~9.6×10^7 t)

Hibernia is an oil field in the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately 315 kilometres (196 mi) east-southeast of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

The production platform Hibernia is the world's largest oil platform and consists of a 37,000 t (41,000 short tons) integrated topsides facility mounted on a 600,000 t (660,000 short tons) gravity base structure. The platform was towed to its final site, and 450,000 t (500,000 short tons) of solid ballast were added to secure it in place. Inside the gravity base structure are storage tanks for 1.2 million barrels (190,000 m3) of crude oil.

Exploration before development

Exploration drilling to map the field began in the 1960s and continued into the 1980s, with the loss of the Ocean Ranger mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) in the process. In the mid-1980s, a new Conservative federal government under Brian Mulroney pledged that then Crown corporation Petro-Canada (now part of Suncor Energy) would be a lead player in creating a commercially viable offshore development on the Hibernia field. Hibernia would become one of a series of regional "mega-projects" that Mulroney's government started across Canada during this time.


Following several years of aborted startup attempts, during which time the federal government was forced to increase its liability stake in the project by forming the Crown Corporation Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation, the Hibernia megaproject began construction of the production platform and gravity base structure in the early 1990s.

The Hibernia offshore oil field is owned jointly by ExxonMobil Canada (33.125%), Chevron Canada Resources (26.875%), Suncor (20%), Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation (8.5%), Murphy Oil (6.5%) and StatoilHydro Canada Ltd (5%).

As the Hibernia field was located in an inhospitable environment consisting of rogue waves, fog, icebergs and sea ice, hurricanes, and nor'easter winter storms, engineering analyses determined that the most appropriate drilling platform would be in the form of a gravity base structure (GBS).

The Hibernia GBS sits on the ocean floor approximately 80 m (260 ft) depth with its topsides extending approximately 50 m (160 ft) out of the water. The platform acts as a small concrete island with serrated outer edges designed to counter icebergs. The GBS contains production storage tanks and the remainder of the void space is filled with magnetite ballast with the entire structure weighing in at 1,200,000 t (1,300,000 short tons). The GBS was constructed in Bull Arm and the "topsides" production and living quarters was attached to the base while floating in Bull Arm, before the integrated unit (production platform and GBS) was towed out to the actual Hibernia field.

Production commenced on November 17, 1997 and Hibernia has proven to be the most prolific oil well in Canada, with initial production rates in excess of 50,000 bbl (7,900 m3) per day from a single well. A dedicated fleet of shuttle tankers continuously operates between the platform and an onshore transshipment facility at Whiffen Head, adjacent to an oil refinery at Come By Chance. Between 1991 and 1995, almost 2500 workers were employed in the construction of the platform, 78% of these at the Bull Arm construction site. Many of these people received training in construction management and high technology. Others received an upgrading of their skills as a result of this project. In the future royalties from the production of oil could be in the billions of dollars.

The development of Hibernia involves a considerable amount of drilling services. As of January 1, 2007, over 50 development wells have been successfully drilled from the platform, including several world record "extended reach drilling" wells.

The platform always has at least one logistics support vessel in attendance, which shuttle supplies and provides on-station emergency support. These support vessels are also tasked during the spring and summer months to tow small and medium-sized ice bergs which might collide with the platform, even though the GBS is engineered to withstand such a hit. The crew consists of 280 people who spend 3 weeks on the platform and three weeks on land, flown to and from the platform by helicopter.

The platform has been used to refuel CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopters on long-range missions in the North Atlantic.\


The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board listed the total oil field production at 704 million barrels (111.9×10^6 m3) as of August 2010.[1] The same update listed the Proven and Probable estimated reserves as being 1,395 million barrels (221.8×10^6 m3) of oil.

See also


External links

  • Official website
  • Project description at
  • Photo of the platform
  • Map of Canadian Oil and gas infrastructure
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