Norway to continue geologic mapping and mineral assessments of deep-sea formations in the North Atlantic


STAVANGER, Norway -- The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has dedicated resources to acquire seabed samples from the Vøring Spur and Gjallar Ridge South areas in the summer of 2016. The project, which will be carried out by the University of Bergen (UiB), builds on a similar collaboration from 2010 to 2015. The objective is to increase the understanding of resources and the geological development under the Norwegian Sea.

Locations of the NPD’s sampling of bedrock on the seabed. The yellow stars show the locations for the sampling on the Jan Mayen Ridge. The blue star shows where shallow wells were drilled in 2014. The white stars show where samples were taken on the Gjallar Ridge and the Vøring Spur in 2013.

The NPD sponsored sub-sea topography mapping in Jan Mayen region in 2010.  Based on this information, material was collected using an ROV in 2011 and 2012.  Several successful ROV dives were carried out in 2013, and in 2014, shallow drill cores were acquired in the outer parts of the Møre Basin. All of the samples are part of the exploration for reservoir rocks on the Jan Mayen Ridge, and the outermost parts of the continental shelf in the Norwegian Sea.

The work is part of an ongoing study of continental drift/plate tectonics that surmises formations in the shelf area offshore Norway, and the sediments in Jan Mayen Ridge, are analogous to rocks exposed on the surface in Greenland.  The hypothesis suggests the fracturing process was complicated and determining how the three areas were once connected is a challenging process. Samples are being acquired to increase the concentration of data points to help solve the complex geologic puzzle to identify reservoir-quality hydrocarbon-bearing formations offshore Norway.

The acquired samples have also provided significant information about metallic seabed minerals, an aspect that the NPD will pursue in ongoing investigations.  Samples of manganese crust were taken in the Jan Mayen Ridge and Vøring Spur area. This coating of metallic minerals are precipitated from seawater on indigenous seabed rocks. These coatings are mainly composed of manganese and iron minerals.  However, the study also revealed far more valuable metals are also present, including cobalt, nickel, titanium, platinum and scandium, which are used to produce aluminum alloys.

The UiB and NPD will perform further investigations of the Vøring Spur.  The new data will help increase the authorities’ understanding of the hydrocarbon resources in the Norwegian Sea and the geological development of the North Atlantic.  This year’s acquisition, will also enhance knowledge of the economic metal occurrences with regard to scope, quality and resource estimation.

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