Hibernia oil field is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, around 315km from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. It is situated in the Jean de’Arc Basin in a water depth of 80m.

First discovered in 1979, the oil field was expected to have a life of 20 years.

However, the projected life of the field was extended beyond 2040 following extended reach drilling, geological and reservoir modelling technology, and regular maintenance.

In November 2022, the Hibernia offshore production platform, which is towed to the Hibernia oil field, marked 25 years of oil production.

Production from the platform started on 17 November 1997, which made it the first offshore production platform in New Foundland and Labrador.

The Hibernia field is operated by Hibernia Management and Development Company (HMDC).

ExxonMobil Canada holds a 33.125% stake in HMDC. Chevron Canada Resources (26.875%), Suncor Energy (20%), Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation (8.5%), Murphy Oil Company (6.5%) and Equinor Canada (5%) are the other partners.


Initially, the Hibernia development was proposed in an area of around 223km² with plans to extract 520 million barrels of recoverable oil from two separate reservoirs.

In 2014, the estimate of reserves was increased to 1.644 billion barrels from a 2010 estimate of 1.395 billion barrels.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) further updated the Proven and Probable (2P) Estimated Ultimate Recovery (EUR) for the Hibernia Field to 1.812 billion barrels of oil in June 2022.

The estimate was raised after assessing the data acquired from drilling and production activities.

As of November 2022, Hibernia had produced 1.2 billion barrels of oil.

Project Development

In 1979, the Hibernia field was discovered by drilling the Chevron et al Hibernia P-15 well. Mobil, the erstwhile operator, drilled nine additional wells between 1979 and 1984 to delineate the field.

In 1985, Mobil Oil submitted the Hibernia Development Plan and it was declared a significant discovery by C-NLOPBO. The development plan was approved a year later in 1986.

HMDC was created in 1988 to act as the operating company for the Hibernia field. In 1990, HMDC submitted the Hibernia Development Plan Update to the C-NLOPB with proposed modifications.

In November 1997, Hibernia B-16 1 well achieved its first production. The first oil tanker was loaded in December 1997.

Hibernia Project Infrastructure

The Hibernia project consists of two reservoirs- Hibernia and Ben Nevis-Avalon. The Hibernia reservoir is the deeper of the two situated at subsea depths between 3,300m and 4,030m, while the Ben Nevis-Avalon reservoir occurs at depths of 2,100m to 3,000m subsea.

The project includes a fixed production platform built as a gravity base structure (GBS), loading platforms, subsea facilities, development wells, shuttle tankers to transport oil to shore, and other components.

GBS features a 105m diameter, 85m high concrete caisson segmented into vertical cells for ballast and oil storage. It is made of concrete with a heavy outer wall and four shafts rising approximately 30m above the caisson to support the topside facilities.

The topsides include separation and production facilities, workers' accommodation, and drilling rigs.

Overall, the 224m high platform is equivalent to a 75-storey building. At the time of mating of Hibernia Production topsides and GBS, it weighed almost 600,000 tonnes.

The oil from the production platform is transferred to articulated loading platforms via a subsea pipeline for tanker loading. The subsea facilities including flow lines and gathering lines are located around the area.

Contractors and Agreements

Some of the key contractors that are supporting the Hibernia project are Wood Group Canada, Schlumberger Oilfield Services and Import Tool Corporation.

Wood Group Canada has been selected to provide fabric maintenance support, engineering design and construction services, while Import Tool provided different materials including liner hangers, completion equipment and other wellbore materials.

HMDC contracted Schlumberger Oilfield Services for a suite of drilling services, equipment and products. The company also offers onshore support personnel and offshore technical personnel for work execution and equipment maintenance.

Halliburton Group Canada has been selected to offer well completions equipment and services to HMDC, while Parker Drilling has been contracted for drilling and maintenance services.

East Coast Tubulars supplies all conductors, casing and tubing and associated services for HMDC's drilling programme, and Baker Hughes is responsible for providing production chemicals.

A. Harvey & Company won the contract for delivering purpose-built marine base facilities and logistics management services.

Atlantic Towing Limited operates two multi-function support vessels for HMDC, while Cougar Helicopters offers helicopter transport services.

SNC-Lavalin Industrial Atlantic and East Coast Catering provide inspection management services and catering and accommodations management services respectively.

In addition to these, HMDC awards several subcontracts and supply orders.

Hibernia Southern Extension

Located 320km southeast of St. John's, the Hibernia Southern Extension (HSE) subsea development is tied back to the Hibernia platform. The development produced its first oil in June 2011.

It features eight platform drilled production wells and up to nine active water injection subsea wells.

HMDC offers services for ExxonMobil Canada-operated HSE.