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ExxonMobil readying to drill exploratory deepwater oil well off Newfoundland

Delegates meet at the Exxon Mobil booth during the LNG2023 conference, in Vancouver on July 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — One of the world's largest oil companies is preparing to drill an exploratory deepwater oil well about 500 kilometres off the eastern coast of Newfoundland.

ExxonMobil says the Stena Drillmax ship will drill a single well, which the company is calling Persephone, in about 3,000 metres of water.

The well will be drilled in an area of the seabed called the Orphan Basin, which is north of the Flemish Pass Basin, where Equinor is considering developing the country's first deepwater oil production operation, called Bay du Nord.

Marine traffic websites indicate the Stena Drillmax is waiting in the harbour in Bay Bulls, N.L., which is about 30 kilometres south of St. John's.

Margot Bruce-O'Connell, an Exxon spokesperson, says she could not provide an exact date for when the ship will set out to begin its work.

She said in an email, however, that the drilling is expected to take about four months.

Equinor announced last year that it was putting Bay du Nord on hold for up to three years to figure out how to make it more affordable.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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