UPDATE 2-Exxon Mobil proceeds with $14 bln Canada oil field
* First production at Hebron set for 2017
* 3,500 construction jobs to be created
* Fourth major offshore Newfoundland project
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp said on Friday it is moving ahead with the next major oil project in the North Atlantic, the $14 billion Hebron development off the Newfoundland coast, boosting its already-large investments in Canada's most oil-rich regions.
Exxon Mobil, the biggest U.S. oil major, said it will produce 150,000 barrels of oil a day at Hebron using a massive concrete gravity-base structure like the one employed at the nearby Hibernia project, which has been operating in the iceberg-prone region since the late 1990s.
First production of the project's heavy crude is scheduled for 2017.
The green light for Hebron, the fourth major offshore Newfoundland oil project, encouraged owners of energy operations in harsh areas in a week during which critics pilloried the industry for an accident in the Far North.
In the United States, opponents of Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic oil program called on the Obama administration to put offshore drilling plans in the region on hold after its oil rig broke away from tow boats in high seas and ran aground off Alaska. Continued...