Missions - Norway

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Mission Logs

  1. Haklang Prospect
  2. Midnattsol Prospect 1
  3. Ragnarokk Prospect
  4. Midnattsol Prospect 2
  5. Tornerose Prospect
  6. Uranus Prospect
  7. Edvarda Prospect
  8. Morvin Prospect
  9. Asterix Prospect

  10. Research Themes
  11. Research Locations

Norway missions map


The offshore environment around the Norwegian coastline provides a diverse range of depths and habitats with many interesting ecological communities. Although research in this area has been prevalent in recent years, much of the deepwater environment remains untouched and unseen.

Statoil, Norway's largest oil and gas company, has assets from the Barents Sea to the North Sea from 100m to nearly 2000m water depth. These assets provide Statoil and the SERPENT Project with a unique opportunity for collaboration.

To obtain goals on zero harm to the environment and protection of the biodiversity, this collaboration needs to combine the use of existing environmental monitoring methodology with development of novel methodology. This is important because we need a continued focus on improving monitoring methods to deal with challenges both at home on the Norwegian continental shelf and internationally.

Statoil's objective is to carry out all its operations without harming the environment. SERPENT provides a tool to bring the most up-to-date scientific approaches into the monitoring and assessment process, whilst exploring the ecology of the area and seeking to develop new methods for assessment and monitoring.

The results will be actively used in Statoil's internal control system and may lead to new improvement measures, better methods of analysis and mathematical models that can predict the effects of operations.


Research Themes

Sea floor drill spoil image

Disturbance of sediment environment

The drilling related disturbance to seabed environment can vary from physical stresses such as sediment smothering (as a result of increased sediment accumulation) and changes in the particle size distribution to chemical stresses that are often linked to changes in the physical parameters. For instance, increased sedimentation rate can alter the depth of the oxygenated sediment layer and may be associated with increased concentrations of potentially harmful chemical compounds.

The influence of drilling related disturbance agents on biological communities is poorly understood. This project aims to increase the understanding of these processes through a number of different but complimentary research approaches. The results will help to further develop and improve the management approach of the investigated impacts.

Drill spoil spread diagram

Visual inspection of the seabed

The assessment of physical impacts on the sediment environment around the well head can be made visually by conducting ROV operated video inspections. This involves conducting radiating video transects around the well head and using these data to produce sediment impact maps that help to outline the horizontal extent of the disturbance. The deployment and regular inspection of graduated poles around the well head yields further information on the sediment accumulation along vertical axis providing an additional component to sediment impact maps.

Push core image

Chemical and particle size analysis

Sediment push cores can be utilised to obtain virtually undisturbed sediment samples from pinpointed locations around the drilling area. These samples are analysed for a suite of chemical parameters as well as particle size distributions and as such can be used in groundtruthing the sediment impact maps based on visual inspections

Seastar image

Biological community analysis

Biological community analysis is conducted at two different scales. First, the video transect data together with high-quality digital stills photography is used to assess the community composition and biodiversity of the larger, surface-dwelling organisms (megafauna). This involves identifying the animals, classifying their functional roles and assessing their abundance levels. The video and photography footage also provides important insights into the behaviour of many of these species.

The second scale involves investigating organisms that live in the sediment or are too small to be seen on the video (macrofauna). These smaller organisms have been traditionally used to gauge changes in biological communities of seabed environments. With the use of a modified Ekman Grab, the ROV-based surveys can target both impacted and non-impacted areas (as identified by sediment impact maps). These surveys are most valuable when conducted before, during and soon after impact, as they can then further monitor and assess recovery.

Bioturbation corall image

Bioturbation experiments

Bioturbation can be defined as sediment reworking of particles by organisms inhabiting the seabed environment. As such it has direct influences on the depth of the oxygenated sediment layer and the rate of recycling chemical compounds. This project aims to investigate the bioturbation rates across a gradient of impacted and background sediments by utilising luminophore tracer techniques (inert, highly visible sand particles). The rate and degree of bioturbation is largely dependent on the community composition linking this work is closely with biological community analysis.


Research Locations



Uranus Prospect

Drilling began on an exploration well on Statoil's Uranus prospect in the Barents Sea from the Eirik Raude on January 13th. Expected to take about 70 days, the well is to be drilled to a total depth of about 4,000 meters.

The Uranus prospect is located 120 kilometers from land in block 7227/11 in production license 202.

Go to Uranus prospect image gallery


Morvin Prospect

The Morvin well is located approximately 240 km north-northwest of Kristiansund forming part of the production licence 134b. Water depth at this location is approximately 370 metres and the bottom water temperature was recorded as 7.4 °C ( 20 April 2006 ). The exploration activities at the Morvin location are due to run for approximately 120 days hence allowing for the three-staged survey approach (pre-, during- and post-drilling) to take place.



Edvarda Prospect

The Eirik Raude drilled exploration well 6403/6-1, located 245 km northwest of Kristiansund. Water depth in the area is around 1600m.

The purpose of this drilling operation is to investigate the Edvarda prospect's hydrocarbon potential in sandstone from the Campanian (Cretaceous) period at a depth of approx. 3110 - 3190 m.


Brugdan Prospect

The Brugdan prospect is a sub-basalt exploration well in licence 006 off the Faroe islands, involving the semi-submersible Stena Don.

The Brugdan prospect is technically very challenging for the explorationists trying to interpret beneath very thick sections of volcanic rock. The well is in roughly 480 metres of water.


Tornerose Prospect

The Tornerose prospect in the Barents Sea is about 60 kilometres east of the Snohvit field and 100 kilometres northwest of Hammerfest.

Water depth in the area is just over 400 meters at a temperature of about 3 degrees Celcius, and drilling is being carried out by Transocean's semisub, Transocean Polar Pioneer.


Midnattsol Prospect

Midnattsol is located in Block 16-2 of the Norwegian Sea, 130 km west of Kristiansund, and is one of three wells included in the SERPENT collaboration with Statoil for 2007. The water depth is approximately 930m.


Ragnarokk Prospect

Ragnarokk is located in Block 16-2 of the North Sea , West of Stavanger and is one of three wells included in the SERPENT collaboration with Statoil for 2007. The water depth is approximately 115 metres.