Mission 1

Images | Videos

Location: Midnattsol, Norwegian Sea, Norway
Position: No data
Depth: 928m
Water Temperature: No data

01 - 05 July 2007 (Pre-drilling visit)

Industry Partners  
Gas & Oil Company Statoil
ROV Operator: Oceaneering
Rig operator: Transocean
SERPENT Representative: Dr Andrew gates

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Mission Plan

This quick-look report summarises the recent SERPENT visit to the Transocean Leader semi-submersible deep-water drilling rig at Midnattsol. The visit was carried out in collaboration with Statoil in July 2007. Midnattsol is located in Block 16-2 of the Norwegian Sea, 130 km west of Kristiansund (Figure 1) and is one of three wells included in the SERPENT collaboration with Statoil for 2007.

The aim of the visit was to take pre-drilling video transects and push core samples as well as to set up sediment marker buoys. The information gained will be used to provide control information for comparison with data collected on a post-drilling visit towards the end of the well.

The pre-drilling visits also offer a good opportunity for SERPENT researchers to gain detailed understanding of the study area which is beneficial in the planning of subsequent visits to the site.

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Sample Collection

During the “pre-spud” visit the Magnum 018 work class ROV was used to collect video transects centred on the proposed location of the BOP prior to any disturbance. In addition three transects were taken shortly after drilling had commenced on a pilot well 50 m to the NW of the main well location.

Sediment samples were collected using ROV push corers in order to establish the chemical characteristics and the meiofaunal composition of the seabed at the well location before drilling began. The new design SERPENT push corers, first trialled in deep water on this visit, proved successful and the sediment was suitable for further push coring on the follow-up visit.

Additionally, video footage was taken of some of the typical organisms observed in the area to facilitate the identification of those witnessed in the video transect surveys.

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Eco Highlights

Umbellula image Umbellula image Umbellula image

Video capture images of a seapen (genus Umbellula) observed close to the pilot hole at Midnattsol. Umbellula is a spectacular sessile benthic organism of which there has been limited scientific study. Several individuals were observed at the Midnattsol site and, during the post-drilling visit we were interested in collecting specimens of this unusual animal to further the knowledge of the taxonomy and ecology of the group.

Giant Clubsponge

The Giant Clubsponge (Chondrocladia gigantea), a stalked sponge typically found on a soft seabed capable of reaching more than 60 cm in height.

Basket stars

Basket stars (possibly Gorgonocephalus caputmedusae); echinoderms adapted for filter feeding (note multiple branching of arms) and found between 50 and 1200 m depth.

Cerianthid anemones

Cerianthid anemones; these were one of the most abundant species observed during the video transects.


For further information please contact:
Dr Andrew Gates, SERPENT Project, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK.

or Dr Daniel Jones, SERPENT Project, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK

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Midnattsol location map Dr Andrew Gates

About Andy
Research Interests
T: +44 (0)2380 596363
E: arg3@noc.soton.ac.uk