by Tina Pomroy

    Journey to Hebron: Safety & Sustainability

    In June 2012, Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s address at the Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) conference reminded delegates that the Hebron Project is of vital importance to our province of Newfoundland and Labrador.   She underscored her commitment to ensuring that the province receives maximum value from the project.  Other speakers at the NOIA conference, including Geoff Parker of ExxonMobil Canada, Astor Nyborg of Kiewit Kvaerner Contractors (KKC), and Neil Robertson of WorleyParsons, emphasized Hebron’s obligation to the community and the province, while also stressing the importance of continued commitments to safety and the environment.


    Meg O’Neill, president of ExxonMobil at the time of the NOIA conference, kicked off the first session of the event with The Outlook for Energy and highlighted the fact that safety and protection of the environment are the key success factors for future sustainability.  Complacency is not an option.

    Every employee working on the Hebron Project accepts that safety is a job requirement and that safety performance is a key criterion when hiring contractors. The issue of safety reaches from assessing near-incidents to lowering the risk of it happening again, and also includes corporate social responsibility activities, such as donating an emergency response hovercraft to the Marystown Fire Department and the Town of Clarenville. To date, the Bull Arm site has not had any accidents beyond a minor first-aid incident.

    Hebron reports that the project has had zero spills or environmental incidents and accumulated 1.21 million hours without hurting anyone.  Every employee takes a one-day safety leadership workshop, and an employee cannot go on-site without a comprehensive site orientation.  Almost 2500 observation and intervention cards have been submitted, identifying areas of potential improvement.  They are “Serious About Zero” (SAZ).

    This world-class Hebron Project leads its safety activities with a vision of “Nobody Gets Hurt” and by making safety personal.  Impacts on family and community when someone is hurt on the job are known and respected.


    Project success is defined by project leaders as creating “no harm to people or environment.”

    Mega projects like Hebron pose environmental risks. However, Hebron has demonstrated a commitment to preserving the environment and is aiming towards being a center of excellence for global offshore projects. In November 2011, Hebron partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to protect land and conserve the habitat in the Maddox Cove area. Hebron also developed a 252-page Environmental Protection Plan (EPP), which outlines detailed responsibilities to the environment throughout every step of the project.

    The EPP includes compliance procedures, contingency plans, emergency response plans, and stakeholder roles and responsibilities for protecting the environment. It aims to mitigate any potential negative effects from the project to the biophysical, socio-economic and commercial fisheries environment. To accomplish its mission, the EPP also identifies processes from the employee environmental and safety training to the regular and strict monitoring of environmental performance.

    In the EPP, Hebron identified environmental protection measures to ensure minimal interference and disturbance to fish harvesting in the Bull Arm site area. A community liaison and a fisheries liaison provide a communication channel between the community, the fishery and the project team.

    In addition to increasing skills capacity and positively impacting the province’s economy, Hebron’s legacy will be a positive safety attitude and impact.

    Project Activity Update

    KKC has been contracted to design and construct the concrete gravity base structure (GBS) and WorleyParsons is contracted to design and construct the topsides, which include all drilling, production, and utility equipment, and provide accommodations for workers.

    After approval of the environmental impact assessment for the project in late 2011, construction began on the bund wall, a water-tight barrier, in Bay Bulls. This will allow for water drainage out of the bay, creating a drydock for GBS construction. Upon completion of construction of the GBS in the drydock area, the bund wall will be removed and the bay flooded. The GBS will then be floated to the deep-water site and mated with the topsides.

    Detailed design of the project is currently underway, and the development application was approved in June 2012. The Bull Arm site is being prepared for construction, with the fabrication phases of the project and the construction of batch plants and buildings, one with a door 45 meters high.

    It is anticipated that most modules will be constructed in the province. The living quarters module will be the largest ever built in the province and includes a helideck. The utilities/process module was recently awarded to the Korean company Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., with full and fair opportunity for local procurement of supplies and services.

    Local companies trying to secure a contract with Hebron can learn more about the procurement process and major contracts/service opportunities at www.hebronproject.com/procurement.aspx.

    *All photos supplied by Hebron Project


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