Platform SupportPlatform Support
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When construction of the Hibernia platform began in 1991, Newfoundland and Labrador was a 'greenfield' site, with very little supporting infrastructure in place. Alll that changed with the development of:
- shorebase facilities
- transshipment terminal
Much of this infrastructure is now being used by other offshore projects. It formed the foundation for an east coast offshore oil and gas industry. By utilizing the "shared services" approach to industry support, there has been cost savings for other petroleum industry participants - HMDC included.(back to the top)
The Shorebase, located at St. John's Harbour, on the east end of Water Street, provides shorebase support facilities to the Hibernia platform. The shorebase is owned by A. Harvey and Company. Under the contract, the company provides docking facilities for the support vessels, lay-down and marshaling areas on the waterfront, and all personnel.
The shorebase also provides materials handling equipment, such as crane and forklift services, local transportation of materials to the site, and containers to transport goods to and from the platform.
Practically all materials that flow between shore and the platform pass through the shorebase, with the exception of whatever flies back and forth by helicopter.
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The heliport houses helicopters, Cougar's corporate offices, a training area, a passenger movement area and a safety suit issuance and holding area. Cougar has also invested in an alternate landing site in Long Pond, Conception Bay, in case of bad weather in St. John's.
Crude oil movement is handled by the shareholder companies. The owners have the option of sending crude oil directly to market, or using the transshipment terminal located at Whiffen Head, NL.
Transshipment is a two-stage transportation process for moving crude oil to market. Crude oil is transferred from storage in the Hibernia production platform by purpose-built shuttle tankers. These tankers carry the oil to a transshipment terminal where it is stored in tanks until it is transferred to a conventional (second leg) tanker and shipped to market.The transshipment terminal is located in Whiffen Head, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. The transshipment terminal reduces the number of shuttle tankers required to support Hibernia operations, increases marketing opportunities and allows cargo sizes to be tailored to meet individual customer needs.
The Whiffen Head site was chosen because it has:
- a minimum water depth of 20 metres
- little or no ice in winter
- a wide straight approach to the ship berth
- a berth area reasonably sheltered from prevailing weather conditions
- a minimum tanker turning area of two tanker lengths
- a shoreline area suitable for development
Other criteria included wind and wave conditions, existing shipping corridors and on-land infrastructure..
The transshipment terminal has crude oil tanks, support buildings, diesel tanks and a causeway/trestle to the nearshore tanker berth. The berths can accommodate crude oil tankers ranging from up to 35,000 dead weight tonnes to 159,900 dead weight tonnes.
While in Placentia Bay, loaded crude oil tankers are escorted by a custom designed 5,600 horsepower NTL tug that functions as a tanker escort as well as a firefighting and docking tug. The purpose-built NTL tugs are the Placentia Pride and the Placentia Hope.