In a boost to the oil industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, Suncor Energy says an agreement in principle has been reached that could see the oilfield return to production by this fall.

“Although this agreement in principle is not a guarantee, it sets a path forward in the next few months to secure a return to operations for many years to come,” Suncor president and CEO Mark Little said in a statement.

The offshore operation, which provided up to 1,000 jobs in the province, has not produced oil since 2019 and is in need of upgrades.

Little said a “subset” of the seven oil companies originally involved in Terra Nova will increase their ownership interests. Suncor will increase its equity stake from 38 to 48 per cent. The provincial government provided more than $500 million in financial aid as well.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association applauded the turn of events.

“This announcement is long-awaited, positive news for our offshore oil and gas industry, and indeed our province,” association CEO Charlene Johnson said.

“The Terra Nova project has provided thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in royalties and revenue, and helped our supply and service sector grow its expertise in operating in a harsh weather environment,” she said.