Suncor Energy operates the Terra Nova field, which is located offshore approximately 350 kilometres southeast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Discovered in 1984, the oil field was the second to be developed on the Grand Banks offshore Newfoundland. Production from the field began in 2002, using the Terra Nova Floating, Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. This was the first development in North America to use FPSO technology in a harsh weather environment featuring sea ice and icebergs.
In May 2019, Suncor and the Terra Nova joint venture owners sanctioned plans to proceed with a project that will extend the life of the FPSO vessel to approximately 2031. The asset life extension project is expected to allow the facility to capture approximately 80 million additional barrels of oil for the Terra Nova partnership. The asset life extension project will take place in 2020.
|Terra Nova owners and their working interests|
|Suncor Energy||37.675% (operator)|
How it works
One of the largest FPSO vessels ever built, the Terra Nova 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 stories high. The Terra Nova FPSO can store 960,000 barrels of oil and accommodate up to 120 people while producing.
Oil production wells were pre-drilled by a semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). The wellheads and production manifolds are placed in “glory holes”, or excavations in the seafloor, that protect the equipment from scouring icebergs. A network of more than 40 kilometres of flexible flow lines is used to convey hydrocarbons to and from the wells. Produced gases are separated from the oil and re-injected into the reservoir to support oil production and for 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, which is the lower portion of the turret. The spider buoy provides 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 quickly 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, which is 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 field operation has measures and practices in place to keep its people, the environment and the facility safe. Its 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.