Oljedirektoratet

Successful exploration for seabed minerals

tokt-havbunnsmineraler-deltakere2

Participants on the expedition, from left Stian Rolfsen Gilje and Solveig Lie Onstad from the K. G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research (UiB), Jan Stenløkk from the NPD and Anna Lim from NTNU.

09/09/2019 The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has just completed a successful data acquisition expedition on the Mohns Ridge in the north-western Norwegian Sea, using the Seabed Constructor vessel.

During the four-week expedition, the NPD has made several discoveries of previously unknown sulphide deposits, and collected data covering large areas. These deposits include metals and minerals that are important in battery technology, wind turbines and mobile telephones.

The Mohns Ridge is an oceanic spreading ridge that separates two tectonic plates, and the objective of the expedition was to map the seabed with a view toward mineral resources in the area.

The NPD has been assigned the task of mapping and proving deep sea mineral deposits by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. The Act relating to mineral activity on the Norwegian continental shelf (the Seabed Minerals Act) came into force on 1 July 2019.

Large amounts of data acquired

A total of 3900 line kilometres of geophysical seabed data was acquired using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) Three AUVs were in operation simultaneously, collecting data as they passed about 50 m above the seabed at a speed of 3 knots. The AUVs operated independently for two days at the time away from the mother vessel.

This data acquisition has provided important geophysical data and seabed maps with a resolution of 1 metre in water depths up to 3000 meters.

Simultaneous to the AUV operations rocks samples were collected using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Five successful ROV dives were carried out, where large volumes of still-image photographs and HD video were shot to document the mineral deposits.

Analysis and evaluation

The sulphide minerals are precipitated on the seabed. This takes place after seawater penetrates down into the seabed over underlying magma chambers. There the seawater is heated to more than 300 degrees and leaches out metals that are then transported up in hot springs on the seabed, where they are precipitated.

Such springs build chimney-like mineral structures. These collapse at regular intervals, creating gravel piles. These are the types of mineral rich gravel piles the NPD has now mapped and taken samples from.

The samples and the geophysical data will be analysed and interpreted and will form the basis for further evaluation and studies of the area.

New efficient technology

Exploration director at the NPD, Torgeir Stordal is excited about the results of the expedition:

- I am very pleased that we have identified, mapped and sampled several new mineral deposits.

- We have also been able to demonstrate new, very efficient data acquisition technology. This is a ground-breaking cruise, in that it is the first time so many autonomous vehicles have been used simultaneously for systematic large-scale mineral mapping. This makes it possible to cover large areas in a short amount of time, so we can streamline and accelerate deep sea data acquisition, says Stordal.

The data acquisition cruise was carried out by Ocean Infinity, with experts from Ocean Floor Geophysics and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. PhD candidates from the University of Bergen (UiB) and NTNU were invited on the cruise and they contributed with valuable knowledge.

tokt-havbunnsmineraler-innsamlingsomraade2.png

Data acquisition areas indicated with yellow boxes.

Read more about the analysis carried out after last expedition

 

Updated: 09/09/2019

Latest news

Who deserves the Improved Recovery Award?
22/02/2024 For the twentieth time, companies are invited to nominate candidates for what will now be known as the Improved Recovery Award.
Drilling permit for well 7220/2-2
21/02/2024 The Norwegian Offshore Directorate has granted Equinor Energy AS drilling permit for well 7220/2-2 in production licence 1080, cf. Section 13 of the Resource Management Regulations.
Production figures January 2024
20/02/2024 Preliminary production figures for January 2024 show an average daily production of 2 071 000 barrels of oil, NGL and condensate.
The Resource Accounts for last year have now been published
20/02/2024 The Resource Accounts for 2023 show an increase in the volume of reserves and contingent resources. The overall petroleum resources have been reduced somewhat.
Change in the Guidelines for the Measurement Regulations
19/02/2024 The Norwegian Offshore Directorate has published a new Appendix 4 to the Guidelines for the Measurement Regulations.
Dry well in the North Sea
16/02/2024 Exploration well 35/11-28 S "Harden sør" in the North Sea proved to be dry. Equinor Energy AS is the operator of production licence 248 C.
Dry wells in the North Sea
14/02/2024 Vår Energi drilled wells 25/7-12 S and A 200 kilometres northwest of Stavanger, both of which were dry.
Drilling permit for well 36/7-5 S
07/02/2024 The Norwegian Offshore Directorate has granted Neptune Energy Norge AS drilling permit for well 36/7-5 S in production licence 636, cf. Section 13 of the Resource Management Regulations.
Drilling permit for well 35/11-29 S
30/01/2024 The Norwegian Offshore Directorate has granted Wellesley Petroleum AS drilling permit for well 35/11-29 S in production licence 248 C, cf. Section 13 of the Resource Management Regulations.
The minerals we need
26/01/2024 Change is often difficult. This will also be true for the transition from fossil energy systems to renewables.