Nalcor’s manager for exploration, Richard Wright, told Noia oil industry conferencegoers Thursday the joint “metocean study” data is now available, covering environmental considerations over roughly 1.5 million square kilometres.
The study area includes the entire Labrador Sea, the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, the Northern Grand Banks and the prospective Flemish Pass. The area was subdivided into about 400 cells, so information can be issued particular to roughy 3,760 square kilometres at a time.
It includes wave data, for discussions around sea states and worker transports. There is data on ocean currents at each location, relevant to subsea construction and repair work. There is data on pack ice and icebergs, for safety and ice management programs.
There are comparisons to conditions seen in other jurisdictions — off Greenland, the North Sea, the Beaufort Sea and the Barents Sea, to name a few.
The data is all available online, in an interactive map (the Nalcor Exploration Strategy System, NESS) also showing the outlines of the province’s offshore basins, political boundaries and current exploration licence areas.
Wright said Nalcor is also working towards a new, science-based resource estimate on the amount of oil and gas in the province’s offshore area.
The estimate will be developed in stages, beginning with the Flemish Pass — existing finds and exploration areas with licences for bid included. These first numbers will be available, he said, before bids close this fall, with the potential to limit or drive up the exploration commitments.
“The Newfoundland and Labrador Metocean Study provides useful information for the global exploration and production industry,” said C-CORE vice-president Murray Brown in a statement. “It captures data that would not otherwise be easily available to the industry and makes it available in a user-friendly and accessible manner. The type of data being released today will assist the industry in making future exploration and development decisions in the province’s offshore.”
Meanwhile, Nalcor is also collecting more 2D seismic, after a record year in 2014, plus 3D seismic, 3D electromagnetics, completing oil slick mapping and seabed core samples. The pre-drilling work is all aimed at a better understanding of the offshore area, helping oil companies to de-risk the idea of working off Newfoundland and Labrador.
Opening the conference day, Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley included mention of Nalcor’s work.
In a campaign-like conference speech — walking through the Progressive Conservative government’s oil-related initiatives of the past decade — he noted it was the PC government that created Nalcor Energy, including its oil and gas arm, leading to the announcements of the day.
"We are competing with over 90 oil and gas producing countries around the world. We have to find that competitive edge,” he said, speaking to the potential for growth in the province’s oil sector in future.
He did not speak to the premier’s speech, earlier in the week, and stated hopes the government is nearing terms with Statoil on a frontier Flemish Pass development.