(Halifax, NS,  3 March 2014) ExxonMobil is seeking expressions of interest for abandoning the Sable Offshore Energy Project but doesn’t know when that might happen.

“We expect well (plug and abandonment) planning work to begin in 2015,” company spokesman Merle MacIsaac said in an interview Friday.

The petroleum giant issued a notice on the BIDS tender website (CLICK HERE TO VIEW TENDER) February 21, 2014 for expressions of interest by March 21 to supply well plug and abandonment equipment, personnel and services for the project.

The notice said the schedule for plug and abandonment field work is still to be determined, but early planning work is expected to begin in 2015.

The Sable natural gas project, which has 21 wells drilled across five wellhead platforms, began production in 1999.

It was projected to have a 25-year lifespan, although the Atlantic Centre for Energy, a New Brunswick industry association, said in 2012 that Sable production would end in five years.

Sable gas production volumes have been in decline, according to data posted by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board.

MacIsaac, who called the production drop a natural decline, said Exxon has to prepare for the future.

“Decommissioning needs a lot of planning.”

MacIsaac said ExxonMobil issued a similar call for expressions of interest in 2012 that didn’t lead to a request for proposals.