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NPD: studying cores from the northeastern Barents Sea

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Oilfield Technology,

In the autumn of 2015, the NPD had seven shallow wells drilled in the northeastern Barents Sea.

Operations are now underway in the core store in Stavanger to study the thousand metres of shallow stratigraphic drill cores with a magnifying glass, tape measure and hydrochloric acid.

Metre by metre, the cores are being examined, registered and logged. In the coming autumn, external consultants will conduct biostratigraphic work (determine the age of sedimentary rocks by means of fossils) and geochemical studies.

“We are learning a lot. Once these studies have been completed, we will understand much more about the geology in these sea areas,” said geologist Andreas Bjørnestad, who participated in the drilling expedition with the vessel “Bucentaur” last year.

During last year’s expedition, some of the clear objectives were to collect data in order to assess the resource base, take samples of reservoir rocks and analyse source rocks and cores.

The cores were first brought to the NPD core store in Trondheim (DORA), where three consultants prepared the samples and readied them for descriptions. The container carrying the cores arrived at the core store in Stavanger in April, which holds samples and drill cuttings from nearly all exploration and production wells drilled on the Norwegian shelf.

However, the vast majority of these drill cores are from reservoir rocks. The samples taken from the shallow wells are complete cores from the seabed, containing both source and reservoir rocks. They therefore provide useful information about the underground.

The drill cores all measure between five and seven centimetres in diameter and are split lengthwise. They are useful in providing a quick overview of rock types and sedimentary structures. The cores may be used for research in a number of areas, for instance sediment types, stratigraphy, sedimentation environment and climate variations.

The northeastern Barents Sea is not opened for petroleum activity. Only the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate may map unopened areas on the Norwegian shelf.

Adapted from a press release by Louise Mulhall

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