The development of Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil fields has generated thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in royalties and tax revenues for the province.
But an overlooked benefit of these oil fields is the charitable donations the operators make that impacts communities across Newfoundland and Labrador. One example of how significant that impact can be is Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd.―operator of the province’s longest producing field, Hibernia. So far in 2018 it has contributed approximately $4.2 million to two organizations.
The biggest contribution was made in April when HMDC announced a $3.4 million donation to Let’s Talk Science, a national organization focused on education and skills development for Canadian kids through science, technology, engineering and math programs. It’s been providing these programs since 1998 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“This allows us to maintain that presence and to keep reaching all those kids,” says Vanessa Nelson, Let’s Talk Science’s vice-president, external relations. “For Hibernia, it’s re-investing back into the communities where it operates and it’s creating awareness of the skilled trades.”
While Hibernia’s generosity towards Let’s Talk Science benefits the province and its young people, the company has obviously targeted these four subjects in hopes the re-investment will benefit HMDC in the future.
The organization’s education and outreach programs are designed to raise awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering and math careers. These are all careers that the oil and gas industry depends on to explore, find and develop hydrocarbons. Nelson says Let’s Talk Science programs have reached approximately 55 communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
HMDC’s other large contribution in 2018 also centered on supporting science, technology, engineering and math education in the province. In March it announced it was contributing $840,000 over four years to the Manuels River Hibernia Interpretation Centre.
The centre is located in Conception Bay South, about a 20-minute drive from downtown St. John’s. The funding will allow the centre to develop new science, technology, engineering and math programs and maintain current programs.
Some of the new programs include expanded learning camps for elementary and intermediate school students. Hibernia had already contributed $4 million to the centre since 2011, including $3 million to construction of the centre.