15 September 2010

Hibernia 20

To mark the 20th anniversary of the development for the Hibernia project, cbc.ca/nl put together a special page of video clips from the time. It’s a great site and a great reminder of one of the most significant events in the province’s long history.

There are so many aspects to the Hibernia story (and the CBC vids) worth noting:

  • There’s the signing ceremony with all the Premiers since Confederation to that time in attendance.
  • There’s the caution from Clyde Wells that offshore oil and gas would not solve all the province’s economic problems. That one pissed off a lot of people in the oil industry but he was right.
  • There’s the warning from Wade Locke about the project would cost the province its precious Equalization hand-outs and as such would be a bad thing. Locke wasn’t alone in his pessimism and unfortunately the thirst for federal hand-outs proved to be a major policy initiative of the current administration.  Thankfully, Locke  and the others were and the provincial government is now off Equalization despite the best efforts of the current administration.  The Premiers who worked to bring the Hibernia project to the province got their wish instead.
  • The forecast was for $4.0 billion in revenue based on oil prices at the time.  Change oil prices and the amount coming from Hibernia will be more like nine times that amount.
  • By contrast, the equity stakes secured at great price by the current administration from Hebron, White Rose and Hibernia South will be only a tiny fraction of the royalties from that original project based on the royalty regime put in place in 1990 and revised in 2000. 
  • Construction on the project began almost immediately.  Construction on Hebron, by contrast, is not expected to begin until four years after the partners signed the development deal.

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