Start-up of seismic data acquisition

15/06/2007 The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) will start acquiring 2D seismic data in Nordland VII and Troms II outside of Lofoten and Vesterålen around 29 June 2007.

The seismic company Fugro-Geoteam AS will be carrying out the assignment on behalf of the authorities – and data acquisition will be concluded by 18 July – well before this year's second period of fishing for Greenland halibut commences in late July/early August. As it will not be possible to conduct all of the seismic acquisition planned for in 2007 during this period, the authorities will gather the remaining data in the autumn, following a clarification round with the fishery authorities and the fishermen's organizations regarding the timing of this.

Background for data acquisition

When the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) adopted the management plan for the Barents Sea and the waters off Lofoten in the spring of 2006, it was decided at the same time that the NPD would acquire seismic data in the Nordland VII and Troms II areas. The purpose is to increase knowledge regarding potential petroleum deposits on the Norwegian part of the continental shelf. In the areas covered by the management plan it was also decided that knowledge regarding seabirds and the seabed should be improved. This will be accomplished by means of the Seapop program as regards seabirds, and by means of the Mareano program as regards the seabed. The information obtained from these three acquisition programs will help form the basis for the Storting's re-evaluation of the management plan in 2010.

In the fall of 2006, NOK 70 million was allocated to the NPD's seismic data acquisition. The NPD also expects that funds will be allocated for acquisition of seismic data in Nordland VII and Troms II in 2008 and 2009.

Cooperation with fishermen's organisations
The NPD has always operated on the assumption that seismic data must be acquired in a dialogue with the fishermen's organisations for the activities to take place with the least possible impact on other activities. In the fall of 2006, the NPD met with the Directorate of Fisheries, and in the last half of February, NPD representatives met with the Norwegian Fishermen's Association and the Norwegian Coastal Fishermen's Association to determine the most favourable period for data acquisition. In these meetings both the Directorate of Fisheries and the fishermen's organisations emphasised that the time between the two periods of fishing for Greenland halibut in June and August would be the most favourable.

The NPD has taken this into account when planning seismic data acquisition this summer. There is a great demand for seismic vessels at present, and it has therefore taken some time to secure a contract with a seismic vessel.

Because of the difficulties in chartering a seismic vessel, it has become necessary to conduct the seismic surveys in two separate periods, one from 29 June to 18 July, and a second one later on in the year.

During the period following the February meetings, the NPD has regularly informed the fishermen's organisations regarding the progress of this work. All seismic vessels that are active on the Norwegian Shelf must have a fishery expert on board. The NPD has requested a recommendation from the fishermen as regards selection of a fishery expert, and a decision has been made to have two fishery experts on board during the mission. In addition to the seismic vessel M/V Geo Arctic, which will carry out the seismic data acquisition, a smaller boat, M/V Kvitebjørn, will also take part in the mission.

At the end of Week 25, representatives from the NPD will travel to Lofoten and Vesterålen to inform the members of the Norwegian Fishermen's Association and the Norwegian Coastal Fishermen's Association about the seismic data acquisition activity.

What is 2D seismic?
2D seismic (two-dimensional seismic) is acquired using a long listening cable towed behind the seismic vessel. An air gun generates sound waves that penetrate the water masses and the seabed. The sound waves are reflected back when they hit different types of rocks in the subsurface. These reflected waves are captured by the listening cable towed behind the seismic vessel. These signals are processed into data that can be interpreted by geologists and geophysicists. This seismic data is essential for mapping the subsurface in specific areas.


Contact in the NPD:
Eldbjørg Vaage Melberg, tel. +47 51 87 61 00.


Updated: 14/12/2009