A news conference in St. John's this morning revealed Husky Energy is getting $41.5 million from the provincial government through the Oil and Gas Industry Recovery Assistance Fund to help maintain jobs in the near-term at the White Rose Energy Project.
The money, which will be matched by Husky and its partners in the offshore endeavour, is to be used for work necessary to support a restart of the project. However, there is no set specific target date for that restart or any guarantee it will happen.
This is the first project to receive money from the assistance fund announced in September when the federal government set aside $320 million to be administered by Newfoundland and Labrador to support direct and indirect employment in the province’s oil and gas sector as well as activities that generate environmental and co-benefits.
The province says the funding for the White Rose project will provide in-province employment for 169 people in project management and engineering, as well as 162 tradespersons in Argentia and Marystown, for a total of 331 people.
All work associated with the funding is to be completed in 2021, but that doesn’t mean the project will eventually fully resume. A news release that followed the announcement only said the funding “protects the option of re-starting the West White Rose Project in 2022, if conditions permit.”
The oil and gas project, which would involve the establishment of a 210,000-tonne concrete platform in waters 350 kilometres east of St. John’s, was halted in the spring due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting negative impact on global energy prices.
The project was being constructed in Argentia, with as many as 700 jobs associated with the platform’s construction.
Work was approximately 60 per cent complete on the platform when work was suspended and hundreds were layed off. Then, in September. Husky announced it was reviewing the future of the project, followed in late October, with an update from the company that it was cancelling all work on the project through 2021. That same month, Alberta-based Cenovus Energy announced a merger with Husky, with the former purchasing the latter for $3,8 billion.
Among those taking part in today's announcement at Husky’s offices in St. John’s were Premier Andrew Furey, provincial energy minister Andrew Parsons, Parsons’ federal counterpart, Newfoundland MP Seamus O’Regan, and Jonathan Brown, Husky’s senior vice president for the Atlantic region.
It was also revealed discussions between the provincial government and operators regarding other proposals related to the assistance fund are ongoing. With assessments of those proposals underway, further projects are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
More to come.
- West White Rose announcement coming this morning in St. John's
- West White Rose cancellation comes on heels of Cenovus' purchase of Husky Energy
- Husky cancels West White Rose construction work for 2021
- Ottawa's $320 million in new subsidies for Newfoundland offshore not enough for Husky to restart West White Rose project
- Husky Energy's West White Rose offshore oil project faces uncertainty: Hundreds of jobs, billions in the balance