The White Rose expansion project (WREP) involves the development of three satellite fields near the White Rose oil field off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
The three satellite fields are the North Amethyst, West White Rose and South White Rose. The North Amethyst and South White Rose Extension (SWRX) projects are in production, while, as of May 2022, the West White Rose project is approximately 65% complete.
The main White Rose field started production in November 2005 and produces 261 million barrels of oil (mbo) and 387,181 million metric standard cubic feet (Mmscf) as of April 2022.
The expansion project is aimed at increasing production from and extending the life of the White Rose field. The development plan for all three satellite fields includes a subsea tie-back to the existing SeaRose floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.
Ownership and operatorship details
Husky Energy was previously the operator of the WREP. The company was acquired by Cenovus Energy under a merger deal in January 2021, which resulted in the formation of the third-largest oil and gas company in Canada.
Cenovus Energy assumed the operatorship of the satellite fields following the transaction. The company reduced its interest in the satellite fields from 68.875% to 56.375% under an agreement with Suncor, which increased its ownership in the fields from 26.125% to 38.625%.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Government holds the remaining 5% interest through Nalcor Energy.
The White Rose field is located on the Grand Banks play, offshore Newfoundland. The satellite fields are located at a water depth of around 120m in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, 350km east of Newfoundland and Labrador.
White Rose satellite fields discovery and reserves
The South White Rose field was delineated in 2003. As of June 2022, it is estimated to hold remaining proven and probable oil reserves of about five mbo and contingent gas resources of 155 billion standard cubic feet (bscf).
The North Amethyst and West White Rose satellite fields were discovered in 2006 by delineation drilling. The remaining recoverable oil reserves at West White Rose are estimated at 102mbo while contingent gas resources are estimated at 959bscf.
The North Amethyst field holds remaining commercially recoverable oil reserves of six mbo and contingent gas resources of 942bscf, as of June 2022.
Expansion project timeline
A formal agreement for the development of the three fields was made in December 2007, and production from the North Amethyst field started in May 2010. A Hibernia formation well at the North Amethyst field commenced oil production in the third quarter (Q3) of 2016, while a new infill well achieved first oil in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017.
The development plan amendment for SWRX was approved in June 2013, and production from the project started in June 2015. A second production well was added to the SWRX project in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2016.
The operations at the expansion projects were suspended in November 2018 following an oil spill incident at the White Rose field. A preliminary investigation revealed that the spill came from a failed subsea flowline connection. A replacement for the flowline connection was installed in July 2019.
Once approval from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board was granted, activities at the North Amethyst and SWRX project drilling centres were restarted in August 2019.
The final approval for the WREP, which involves the development of the West White Rose field, was granted in May 2017.
Development works for the West White Rose field were halted in March 2020 amid uncertainty in the oil markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Husky Energy announced a full review of the project in September 2020. The project partners reached an agreement to resume the project development in May 2022. A full restart of the project is planned to take place in 2023, while first oil production from the field is expected to be achieved in the first half (H1) of 2026.
The field is expected to achieve a peak output of 80,000 barrels a day by the end of 2029. The WREP is expected to expand the life of the White Rose field by 14 years.
White Rose satellite fields development
The WREP development involves the installation of a wellhead platform (WHP) comprised of a concrete gravity structure (CGS) and topsides that will feature drilling facilities, wellheads and support services, including accommodation facilities for 144 people, utilities, flare boom and helideck. Production from the satellite field will be transferred to the SeaRose FPSO through subsea pipelines.
The WHP will accommodate 20 well slots and integrate conductor-sharing wellhead technology, which allows two wells to be drilled in each conductor, doubling the total number of wells to 40. The WHP is designed to operate for 25 years. The CGS is being constructed at a new graving dock in Argentia.
The West White Rose project will include the completion of the CGS and topsides to support the drilling activities of the project. Upon completion of the installation, the fixed drilling platform will be tied-back to the existing infrastructure. The SeaRose FPSO is expected to undergo a drydock programme for about 70 days in 2024.
The SWRX project was developed by constructing a new drill centre about 4km from the existing Southern Glory Hole at the main field.
The drill centre comprises three production wells, two gas injection wells and a water injection well. It also includes options to accommodate 12 more wells. The project involved the installation of 21km of flow lines and 14 subsea structures.
The wells are connected to the existing South Drill Centre by subsea facilities. Drilling works for the SWRX were performed using a semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU).
The North Amethyst field was developed as the first near-field tieback offshore Canada. Its development involved the construction of a new glory hole with a capacity of up to 16 wells. The tie-back required up to 11 wells.
Cameron supplied 13 subsea wellheads and christmas trees, control systems, manifold components, and flowline connection systems. The company also provided engineering and project management support for the North Amethyst field. The final assembly, painting, mechanical outfitting and insulation of the subsea structures for the North Amethyst field were performed by Cahill.
Technip, now part of TechnipFMC, provided more than 30km of flowline and umbilicals for the development of the North Amethyst field. Jumbo Offshore assisted the company with the installation activities. Technip also supplied and installed the gas injection flowlines, umbilicals and subsea structures to support oil production and water injection for the SWRX project.
Furthermore, the company was contracted to work on the West White Rose project in August 2017. The contractual scope includes the supply and installation of subsea control umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) as well as subsea structures to connect the fixed drilling platform to the existing subsea infrastructure of the SeaRose FPSO.
Wood Group Mustang Canada, in collaboration with Wood Group PSN, performed the front-end engineering design (FEED) for the topsides of the WREP wellhead platform. The two companies also provided detailed engineering and design for the topsides.
The pre-FEED, FEED and detailed engineering design for the WHP CGS were performed by Arup. The drilling equipment for the WHP was supplied by Archer.
US-based construction company Kiewit received a contract to provide fabrication for the 25,000t WHP topsides for the West White Rose field development in 2017. The company was responsible for the fabrication, construction and integration of the topsides.
The contract for the construction of the drilling platform CGS for the West White Rose project was awarded to a partnership between SNC-Lavalin, Dragados Canada and Pennecon in August 2017. The CGS will have a height of 145m and base diameter of 122m.
Kvaerner Canada received a contract to tow and install the CGS.
Akastor subsidiary MHWirth was appointed by Wood Group Canada for a drilling package, including equipment, engineering and services, for the West White Rose project in 2017.
Van Oord was engaged to undertake offshore installation works for the West White Rose project in October 2018.