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Former Newfoundland military base to be transformed

Richard Gilbert
Former Newfoundland military base to be transformed
Husky Energy began construction on the $2.3 billion White Rose Extension Project in November 2013. Dexter Construction completed the construction of the graving dock, which was excavated behind a natural coastal berm. The construction site area is about 20 hectares.

Argentia Management Authority (AMA) is transforming a former U.S. military base into a port and industrial site in Placentia Bay N.L., but development stalled when construction of an offshore oil project was delayed.

"We are expecting the Husky people to come out and see us to give an update at the end of March. At that time, we are hoping to get a little better understanding of the project and what will happen over the next six to 12 months," said AMA CEO Harvey Brenton.

"The latest word we have received is the work for the graving dock has been finished as of the end of February. The next thing they will have there, if they are moving forward with the project, would be to award the contract for the construction of the concrete gravity structure (CGS). And then to compliment that, the graving dock is supposed to have gates, which will be constructed at the same time."

Husky Energy began construction on the $2.3 billion White Rose Extension Project in November 2013.

Dexter Construction completed the construction of the graving dock, which was excavated behind a natural coastal berm. The construction site area is about 20 hectares.

A drainage and surface layer were installed at the finished dock floor elevation. Two soil-cement-bentonite cut off walls were constructed to minimize water flow into the graving dock.

Dewatering wells were installed around the perimeter of the graving dock, as well as a drainage and pumping system along the dock floor to maintain water control.

As construction neared completion, AMA was preparing to become a major fabrication site for the offshore oil industry.

However, the situation changed drastically in December 2014, when Husky advised the AMA that the decision to construct a CGS has been delayed for up to one year.

"We have significant other companies that are looking at coming and setting up in Argentia," said Brenton. Newfoundland’s construction industry is waiting for a decision from Husky to start the next phase of investment at Argentia. Husky applied to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to develop the western portion of the White Rose field, located about 350 km east of St. John’s.

According to Husky’s development application submitted in June 2014, the White Rose field is located in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, in about 120 m of water. Currently, development has been through subsea drill centres, with flexible flowlines bringing crude oil to a centralized floating production platform.

Three respondents were selected in December 2013 to bid on the construction of the CGS and gates of the graving dock, which will be reinforced to allow future re-use of the facility.

Construction of the CGS includes temporary buildings, primary and secondary concrete batching plants, offices, a mess hall, medical clinic, temporary sheds, lay down areas and storage areas.

The primary materials for CGS construction are cement, sand, gravel and steel rebar for the concrete, and structural steel and pipe for the fitting out of the shaft. The concrete substructure will be completed in the graving dock prior to tow out to a deep water site for topsides mating. The wellhead platform will be comprised of a CGS with topsides consisting of drilling facilities, wellheads, accommodations for up to 144 people, utilities, a flare boom and a helideck. This design accounts for the risks posed by icebergs, sea ice and the harsh environmental conditions found off of the Newfoundland and Labrador shore.

Future management of the facility may be done by Husky or by the AMA. Husky also has the ability to lease the facility to a third party.

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