Our Strategy

OilCo is leading the exploration of the province’s frontier and deepwater basins by making investments in new geoscience data and analysis to evaluate Newfoundland and Labrador’s undiscovered oil and gas resource potential.

OilCo has developed and is executing an exploration strategy based on global best practices to find and deliver new oil and gas resources for the benefit of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our team undertakes strategic investments in new data acquisition and analysis at the front end of the exploration cycle to enhance knowledge of the prospectivity of offshore Newfoundland and Labrador’s frontier basins, open new areas to industry exploration, and increase Newfoundland and Labrador’s global competitiveness to attract exploration investment.

OilCo is not competitive with industry and therefore does not participate in bidding on land.

Our systematic approach

OilCo takes a systematic and scientific approach to evaluate Newfoundland and Labrador’s frontier basins. Through our proprietary exploration strategy system (Insight), our team consistently evaluates all of Newfoundland and Labrador’s basins (over 20) on the key elements that make up a commercial-grade petroleum deposit. This process identifies critical knowledge gaps that may exist and highlights key risks holding back industry investment.

OilCo continues to make investments and design geoscience programs to address the key risks in a basin-by-basin approach. As more is learned about a region, some basins will likely look less prospective – a reality of exploration. However, by guiding investments and activity strategically, OilCo is positioned to make the right investments at the right time to unlock the next areas of offshore Newfoundland and Labrador that may contain material prospectivity, ultimately delivering new resources for the benefit of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Program achievements

Over the past decade, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through OilCo, has invested approximately $180 million to participate in geoscience data to find and evaluate offshore NL’s oil and gas potential. This investment has been leveraged with over $600 million from private data partners and is a critical component of the seismic program each year.

Seismic surveys in offshore NL have been instrumental in identifying significant oil and gas resource potential and has resulted in the following:

  • securing $4 billion in exploration bids over the past seven years, including $1 billion in security bid deposits which default back to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in the event the work is not undertaken;
  • achieving 500% growth in bids made by the global industry on offshore blocks over the last seven years when compared to the 25-years prior to the start of the seismic program ($4 billion in bids in the past seven years vs $2.6 billion total between 1988 and 2013);
  • providing a direct return to the province on seismic investment of $850 million;
  • attracting eight new entrant companies – more than doubling the number of investing oil companies in offshore NL over the past five years;
  • identifying nearly 700 leads and prospects of which nearly two dozen are in the billion-barrel or greater category while providing lower emission intensities compared to other jurisdictions around the world; and
  • identifying probabilistic oil resources of 60 billion barrels and natural gas potential of over 200 trillion cubic feet.

This achievement of attracting foreign investment in offshore Newfoundland and Labrador was recognized by the Petroleum Economist (London) Awards as OilCo was a finalist for the 2017 Exploration Company of the Year.