The first session in Noia’s annual conference that began on Monday tackled the subject of a changing industry, and Carman Mullins, president of ExxonMobil Canada, kicked off the discussion with the suggestion that the players need to be disruptive.
“That means moving away from our traditional ways of thinking and embracing innovative solutions,” she told conference delegates.
Asked afterward if now is the right time to be engaging in such thinking considering a considerable amount of uncertainty as it relates to the federal government’s proposed changes to the regulatory process that govern the sector, Mullins said, “teams that are working on our current assets and future potential really shouldn't be distracted with permitting and regulatory processes. They're focused on how we can innovate, how can we continue to develop.”
That said, the proposed changes are having an impact on ExxonMobil’s financial decision making.
“We need to make progress on that before making a final investment decision on our drilling opportunities.”
Mullins also used the occasion to provide a brief update on the status of the Hebron project, which started producing oil last November, more than a month ahead of schedule.
There are currently five wells drilled — four producing and a fifth that serves to re-inject cuttings.
Among the four producing wells is an open hole gravel pack that reached a company-best 1,300-metres.
“If you think about anything that's 1.3 kilometres long and it has a screen and it has several technical capabilities, it's pretty impressive,” Mullins told The Telegram. “I'm very pleased with the performance of our service providers that have been able to deliver that and in return we're seeing great results from our wells.”
Hibernia and long-term plans for the asset, of which ExxonMobil Canada is the lead owner with a more than 33 per cent stake, were also given some attention, with Mullins suggesting the company is exploring options to extend its life even further.
“Hibernia at this point needs to be innovative, disruptive in how we assess and approach the next phases. We need to focus on maintaining production and remaining globally competitive. It will take new ways of thinking, technology and, dare I say, courage.”
Exxon Mobil owns nine exploration leases in the province’s offshore jurisdiction, but there’s nothing concrete to report at this time.
“We are going through the procurement processes now to evaluate bringing a rig in. No specific final investment decisions have been made, but we're progressing studies, permitting and procurement.”