Equinor has shocked the market with its choice of contractor to carry out critical engineering work on its increasingly controversial $9.4 billion Bay du Nord project offshore eastern Canada.

Bay du Nord will be developed via a floating production, storage and offloading vessel installed at a deep-water location about 500 kilometres offshore Newfoundland & Labrador, beyond Canada’s exclusive economic zone.

The development has stoked controversy in Canada, with climate-change activists taking the government to court for approving the project’s environmental impact statement.