ExxonMobil has announced that it will go ahead with the Hebron oil project.
The proposed Hebron operation Image: ExxonMobil
Despite challenging operating conditions, the company is planning a reinforced concrete, gravity-based structure that will recover more than 700 million barrels of oil, at around 150,000b/d from deepwater wells off the Canadian coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The field was originally discovered in 1981, but the economics and technical issues surrounding the drilling of heavy crude have only recently made the site viable.
Oil production is expected to begin around the end of 2017 following regulatory approval in May 2012. The Canadian province stands to gain much from the project - employment for up to 3,500 people during construction and a variety of provincial developments from royalties and taxes.
The $14bn project, which will be developed with partners Chevron Statoil and Suncor, will include storage at the main Hebron site for approximately 1.2 million barrels of crude oil, as well as living quarters, drilling and production facilities.