Equinor’s bombshell decision on Wednesday to ice its $10 billion Bay du Nord project offshore eastern Canada for up to three years due to cost inflation has left a trail of stunned contractors in its wake, trying to make sense of what has happened.

The decision, announced on 31 May, slap bang in the middle of Newfoundland & Labrador’s annual energy conference (Energy NL) in St John’s, has been met with incredulity by companies carrying out engineering studies on the project.