Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey says the $38 million his government is giving the Hibernia offshore oil project will protect about 148 jobs over 18 months.

Furey made the announcement today, saying the money comes from a pot of $320 million offered to the province by the federal government in September to bolster the floundering oil industry.

Stephen Edwards, president of the Hibernia Management and Development Company, says the money will help it increase production and upgrade infrastructure that could lead to ten more years of drilling.

The company's quarterly reports indicate staff numbers have fallen from 1,479 to 840 over the year, following hundreds of layoffs last spring.

Among Hibernia's owners are ExxonMobil Canada, Chevron Canada Resources and Suncor.

Earlier this month, the province announced Husky Energy would receive $41.5 million to extend the life of its White Rose oilfield, located about 350 kilometres off the coast of St. John's.