Newfoundland seeks Ottawa’s Hibernia oil stake

* Provincial premier says made offer for 8.5 pct stake

* No offer price made public

CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 25 (BestGrowthStock) – The Canadian province
of Newfoundland and Labrador wants to buy the federal
government’s 8.5 percent stake in Hibernia, the country’s
largest offshore oil project, Premier Danny Williams said in a
weekend speech.

Williams, whose Progressive Conservative government has
ruled Canada’s easternmost province since 2003, said in a
speech to party members that the province made a bid for
Ottawa’s stake in September.

“Just over a month ago, we made a substantial and fair
offer to the federal government for the purchase of the 8.5
percent share and net profit interest of the Hibernia project,”
Williams said in the text of his speech.

“We are hopeful that their sense of fairness will kick in
and restore this asset to the rightful owners, which are the
people of this province.”

He did not say how much the province was willing to pay for
the stake, and the federal government declined comment.

Acquiring the stake was a plank in Williams’ 2003 election
campaign. However, although the federal government has often
been rumored to be considering a sale, it never officially said
it would be interested in selling.

Hibernia, located 315 km (196 miles) southeast of the
provincial capital St. John’s, began producing oil in 1997 and
currently produces about 170,000 barrels per day. It is the
largest of Canada’s three offshore oil projects, all in the
Jeanne d’Arc basin off Newfoundland.

Williams has consistently pushed to raise the province’s
take from its oil sector, enforcing higher royalties on
producers and ensuring that Newfoundland gets an equity stake
in new developments.

Along the with Canadian government, the other partners in
the Hibernia project include Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: ) with 20
percent, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: ) with 33.125 percent, Chevron
Corp. (CVX.N: ) with 26.875 percent, Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR.N: )
with 6.5 percent and Statoil (STL.OL: ) with 5 percent.
(Reporting by Scott Haggett; additional reporting by David
Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

Newfoundland seeks Ottawa’s Hibernia oil stake