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In the News

Terra Nova life extension project receives approval to proceed

Ownership restructuring allows repair and upgrading work to go ahead for major offshore producer.

Good news for Canada’s offshore industry came in the form of a recent announcement.

Terra Nova project extension

In September 2021, the co-owners of the Terra Nova floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility and associated Terra Nova Field finalized an agreement to restructure project ownership and move forward with extending the life of this project.

Suncor Energy operates the Terra Nova FPSO and Field, located approximately 350 kilometres southeast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Terra Nova oil field was discovered in 1984 and production began in 2002, using the Terra Nova FPSO vessel. This was the first development in North America to use an FPSO in a harsh weather environment that includes sea ice and icebergs. Under the restructured project ownership agreement, the other partners in the Terra Nova project include Cenovus Energy and Murphy Oil.

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In May 2019, the Terra Nova joint venture owners approved plans to repair and upgrade the FPSO vessel, extending the vessel’s productive life to approximately 2031 – but challenges such as low oil prices nearly forced cancellation of the project. However, in 2021 the ownership changed and the three remaining partners agreed to re-start the project. The FPSO life extension is also being supported by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, which has agreed to provide up to $205 million – funding that originated from the federal government.

The FPSO will undergo maintenance work at Bull Arm, NL then sail to a dry dock in Ferrol, Spain for large repairs. The Terra Nova FPSO should return to operations before the end of 2022.

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Extending the life of the Terra Nova FPSO is expected to allow production of another 70 million barrels of oil. The life extension project is expected to provide many benefits to the economies of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada. These benefits include taxes, royalties and about 1,000 jobs both on-shore and offshore.

About the Terra Nova FPSO

One of the largest FPSO vessels ever built, the Terra Nova FPSO is 292.2 metres long (approximately three football fields end to end) and 45.5 metres wide. From the keel to the helicopter landing deck, it stands more than 18 stories high. The Terra Nova FPSO can store 960,000 barrels of oil and accommodate up to 120 people while producing. 

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The Terra Nova FPSO was designed for the harsh environment where it operates. It is double-hulled to be resistant to sea ice. It has five thrusters and an automated global dynamic positioning system, which allows the vessel to maintain its position in the moving ocean or to change its position to withstand high winds and storms.