About Hibernia

Hibernia Shareholder companies

The shareholders of Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) are: ExxonMobil Canada (33.125%), Chevron Canada Resources (26.875%), Suncor (20%), Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation (8.5%), Murphy Oil (6.5%) and Statoil Canada Ltd. (5%).

The Hibernia Platform

The Hibernia platform has three separate components:
Gravity Base Structure (GBS)
Offshore Loading System (OLS)

The completed platform was towed to the Hibernia oil field and positioned on the ocean floor in June of 1997 and began producing oil on November 17, 1997. The platform stands 224 metres high, which is half the height of New York's Empire State Building (449 metres) and 33 metres taller than the Calgary Tower (191 metres).


The Topsides facilities accommodate drilling, producing and utility equipment on the Hibernia platform, and provide living quarters for the steady-state crew of approximately 185 people. The Topsides facilities have a design capacity of 230,000 barrels of crude oil production per day. In 2003, the then C-NOPB gave HMDC permission to increase its annual production rate to 220,000 barrels per day.

The Topsides is composed of five super modules:

M10 Process

Gas and water are separated from the produced oil, and gas is then compressed for reinjection into the reservoir. Produced water is treated and discharged into the ocean.

M20 Wellhead
Drilling operations occur within the Wellhead Module, upon which two mobile drilling derricks are mounted. The platform is designed to drill two wells at a time.

M30 Mud
Drilling muds are pumped down the drill pipe and through holes in the drill bit to cool the bit, prevent the hole from collapsing and wash the cuttings away from the bottom of the hole. The muds are produced in the Mud Module.

M40 Utilities
The Utilities Module contains various equipment required for power generation, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and water distribution.

M50 Accommodations
The Accommodations Module houses the eating and sleeping quarters for people working offshore, as well as offices and meeting areas. It is equipped with TV lounges, an exercise room (including sauna) and a fully equipped recreation area, including: computers, ping pong tables, pool tables, and other amenities. The Accommodations Module also contains the temporary safe refuge (TSR) in the event of an emergency. The TSR provides emergency power, radio communications and medical facilities. Also located here is the main lifeboat station, helideck and Selantic Skyscape evacuation system.

Gravity Base Structure

The Topsides is supported by a massive concrete pedestal called the Gravity Base Structure (GBS) which was constructed in Bull Arm, Newfoundland & Labrador. The GBS, which sits on the ocean floor, is 111 metres high and has storage capacity for 1.3 million barrels of crude oil in its 85-metre-high caisson. The GBS is specially designed to withstand the impact of sea ice and icebergs to allow for year-round production.

Where did the name Hibernia come from?

Hibernia was the name given by Mobil Oil Canada to a large structural prospect located on its exploration acreage on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland & Labrador. The prospect, a buried anticline, was identified on the western margin of the Jeanne d'Arc Basin by company geophysicists through study of marine seismic data collected in the late 1960's and the 1970's. When the structure was drilled in 1979 by Chevron Canada and its partners of that time (Mobil, Gulf, Suncor and Columbia Gas), the discovery well had been christened Hibernia P-15. The giant oil and gas field has since been known as Hibernia and application of the name has been extended to include the Hibernia production platform. However, there is more to the name Hibernia than just this recent useage.

Hibernia (Latin) and Éire (Gaelic) both mean "Ireland". Generations of mariners from Irish stock have ensured that Hibernia has long been a popular name for ships plying the North Atlantic Ocean. For example, a steamship called Hibernia assisted The Great Eastern steamship during the 1873/74 laying of a transAtlantic telegraph cable from Valentia, Ireland to Heart's Content, Newfoundland & Labrador (Locke & Pratt. 1997. Hibernia Promise of Rock and Sea, Breakwater Books, St. John's). Though it has been suggested that the Hibernia oilfield derived its name from the steamship Hibernia (ibid.), during the 1960's to 1980's Mobil Oil generally named its offshore Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia prospects after sailing ships and shipwrecks (Harvey Smith, personal communication, 1998). An alternate origin for the name of the Hibernia oilfield that is consistent with Mobil Oil's convention of the period is a brig (square-rigged vessel with two masts) christened Hibernia that was lost at sea October 14, 1861 near Seldom, Fogo Island, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland & Labrador (Galgay & McCarthy. 1997. Shipwrecks of Newfoundland & Labrador and Labrador Volume IV, Creative Publishing, St. John's).

The term Hibernia has also been applied to the main hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone reservoir penetrated by the Chevron et al. Hibernia P-15 well. This useage was first introduced in a refereed paper by Arthur et al.(1982). The lithostratigraphic unit Hibernia was at first given informal member status and considered to be a component of the Missisauga Formation. The latter term was introduced by Jansa and Wade (1975) who applied it to a thick sandstone-dominated interval of Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous strata widely encountered on the Scotian Shelf and southern Grand Banks. The term Hibernia was later given formal formation status by McAlpine (1990) and therein redefined as

"the sandstone-dominated unit occuring between the underlying Fortune Bay Shale and the overlying Whiterose Shale or alternatively the overlying "B" marker."



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