Suncor Energy operates the Terra Nova field, which is located offshore approximately 350 kilometres southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Discovered in 1984, the field was the second to be developed off Newfoundland and Labrador. Production from the field began in 2002, through the use of a Floating, Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. This was the first development in North America to use FPSO technology in a harsh weather environment.
Terra Nova’s life-of-field production is estimated at approximately 516 million barrels, with production from the Graben, East Flank and Far East blocks. The field is comprised of a combination of producing wells, as well as water injection and gas injection wells.
Terra Nova owners and their working interests
How it works
One of the largest FPSO vessels ever built, the Terra Nova FPSO is 292.2 metres long and 45.5 metres wide, approximately the size of three football fields laid end to end. From the keel to the helideck, it stands more than 18 storeys high. The Terra Nova FPSO can store 960,000 barrels of oil and accommodate up to 120 personnel while producing.
Oil production wells are pre-drilled by a semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit. The wellheads and production manifolds are placed in “glory holes” (excavations in the seafloor) that protect the equipment from potential scouring by icebergs. A network of more than 40 kilometres of flexible flowlines is used to convey hydrocarbons to and from the wells. Produced gases are separated from the oil and re-injected into the reservoir for production support and possible future extraction. Crude oil is offloaded from the FPSO onto large shuttle tankers for shipment.
The connection between the FPSO and the subsea flowlines is the spider buoy (the lower portion of the turret). The spider buoy is the mooring point for the FPSO, and the pathway for oil and fluids that flow to and from the FPSO and reservoir. The spider buoy has a quick-disconnect feature, allowing the FPSO to safely disconnect and leave the area in an emergency situation.
Built for the North Atlantic
The Terra Nova FPSO was designed for the environment in which it operates. A double-hulled, ice-reinforced vessel, it has five thrusters (two forward and three aft) and a global dynamic positioning system, an automated system that allows the vessel to maintain its headings. The same system reduces the impact of waves by allowing the FPSO to change to more favourable headings in high winds and storms.
In addition to its design specifications, the Terra Nova operation has measures and practices in place to keep its people, the environment and the facility safe. It’s ice management program allows Terra Nova personnel to monitor and deflect icebergs when required. Support vessels can encircle an iceberg with a cable or net and change its direction. Water cannons or the wash from a vessel’s propellers can be used to nudge the iceberg along a different course.
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