UNIS partner in new Arctic petroleum centre

UNIS partner in new Arctic petroleum centre

Top image: The main areas for the new Arctic petroleum centre, ARCEx. 

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced yesterday the establishment of the new Research Centre for Arctic Petroleum Exploration (ARCEx). UNIS is partner in ARCEx which will acquire new knowledge about the petroleum resources in the Arctic and environmentally-friendly exploration techniques.

30 May 2013
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen / UNIS

On 29 May the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced that the University of Tromsø led project Research Centre for Arctic Petroleum Exploration (ARCEx) had been chosen among several proposals to become the new petroleum centre in Northern Norway. The ARCEx will be hosted by the University of Tromsø, and one of the major partners is UNIS as Svalbard is a key study site for the centre.

Snorre Olaussen

Professor Snorre Olaussen. Photo: UNIS

Snorre Olaussen, professor in petroleum geology at UNIS, will lead work package 2 (WP2) called Petroleum systems and play concepts. Also professor Alvar Braathen and associate professor Riko Noormets will be involved in WP2.

Need for improved knowledge
The Arctic in general, and the Barents Sea especially, hold potentially large hydrocarbon resources. There are still many uncertainties in understanding the petroleum resource potential of these areas, and future hydrocarbon exploration must be based on an understanding of fundamental, dynamic processes behind individual sedimentary basin formation and geological evolution of the Barents Sea region and their impact on the petroleum systems.

Access to these resources requires sound environmental practices based on the understanding of Arctic ecosystems and species sensitivity to petroleum activities.

Focus on ecosystems
The primary scientific objective of this centre is to improve geological models for petroleum resources in northern and Arctic areas, and complementary improved understanding of the associated ecosystems for environmental risk management.

The centre will in the space of eight years establish itself at the forefront of scientific excellence in Arctic petroleum geology. It will also provide the necessary ecosystem understanding, improved geophysical methods for hydrocarbon exploration in the high north, and a continuous resource of highly qualified personnel with specialized training for petroleum exploration in these areas.

WP2: Petroleum systems and play concepts
WP2, led by professor Olaussen will provide detailed knowledge around basin characteristics, summarized in detailed paleogeography reconstructions that will improve the ability to predict the resource potential of the Arctic Basins and lower the risk of future shelf play

WP2 will develop a strong research-based activity in studies of petroleum systems and play concepts within the Barents Sea and northernmost Atlantic basins and their pan-Arctic counterparts. Anticipated outcomes of a comprehensive and focused research activity on petroleum systems onshore and offshore will be increased detailed knowledge around basin characteristics, spanning from structural styles and basin-bounding faults to stratigraphy and depositional setting, summarized in detailed paleogeography and tectonic reconstructions. This will improve the ability to predict the resource potential of the Arctic Basins and lower the risk of future shelf plays.

ARCEx Partners:
Host Institution: University of Tromsø – Faculty of Science and Technology (NT)
• The University Centre in Svabard (UNIS)
• University of Oslo – Department of Geosciences (UiO-Geo)
• University of Bergen – Department of Earth Sciences (UiB-Geo)
• Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
• University of Tromsø – Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE)
• Akvaplan-Niva (APN)
• University of Stavanger- Centre for risk management and societal safety (UiS-SEROS)
• The Geological Survey of Norway (NGU)
• International Research Institute (IRIS)

There are also several international associated partners from Russia, Canada, Denmark, USA, UK, Germany, Brazil and Poland, in addition to oil and gas industry partners.

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