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$16.5M funding supports new Centre for Arctic Resource Development


St John’s, NL – C-CORE, a research group based at Memorial University, is launching a major new initiative aimed at unlocking the potential of the Arctic’s natural resources. The initiative is supported by $16.5 million in combined funding announced by the Hibernia and Terra Nova projects and the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC). The funding will establish the Centre for Arctic Resource Development (CARD).

In order to maximize the resources of the Arctic, the challenges of the operating environment must be understood and addressed through new technology solutions.

The Hibernia and Terra Nova projects have driven technology development and provided key information for oil and gas development in harsh, cold-ocean environments. Together, the Hibernia and Terra Nova projects will contribute $12.5 million over five years ($2.5 million per year) to support leading-edge research projects and programs, as well as technology development. RDC will provide $4 million to allow C-CORE to expand and enhance its facilities at Memorial to accommodate the new researchers.

“Research and development associated with operating in harsh arctic climates have enabled the development of Hibernia and the Hibernia Southern Extension subsea project,” said Paul Leonard, president of Hibernia Management and Development Company (HMDC). “The research that will be undertaken through CARD will be focused on improving industry’s capacity for oil and gas production and transportation from ice and iceberg prone regions.”

“The Terra Nova development and the rest of our industry already take advantage of the exceptional harsh climate expertise available at C-CORE, and CARD is a natural extension and enhancement of that,” said Sandy Martin, vice president, east coast with Suncor Energy, operator of Terra Nova. “The innovative research to be conducted at CARD will put Newfoundland & Labrador on the map as a leader in arctic research and expertise.”

“CARD will create upwards of 30 new full-time positions for highly qualified individuals, from current world-class experts to rising research stars,” said Dr Charles Randell, C-CORE’s president and CEO. “But the centre has the potential to grow to 40 or more staff, as it attracts new projects and new funding. Potentially, sponsoring oil and gas and/or services companies could second staff to CARD to participate in the research activities or manage projects. The centre will invite experts from around the globe to serve as “experts-in-residence”, providing valuable input into the projects and mentoring junior staff.”

In addition to 30-40 new high-technology jobs, today’s funding will allow for a 1,260 sq m expansion to C-CORE’s existing Dr Jack Clark Geotechnical Engineering Building on Memorial’s campus.

Operating year-round in the Arctic, or even offshore Labrador, is an extraordinarily expensive prospect. CARD will pursue research activities to fill the gaps currently making many Arctic developments prohibitive. The research program will be guided by a five-year R&D plan that has been approved by an advisory body of experts for potential to improve exploration and production in harsh, cold environments.

The centre’s expertise will be primarily engineering, but it will interface with experts in many fields, in order to develop the knowledge, tools, technologies and methodologies needed for Arctic development.