Department of Earth Science

Natural seepage of hydrocarbons in the Southern Norwegian North Sea

This Master's project was designed for Julie Christoffersen who started her Master's program in Earth Sciences, UiB, in the fall semester 2023. The Master's project is given by the research group Geodynamics and basin studies.

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Project description
The North Sea is one of the most important petroleum basins in the world. Abundant seepage of oil and gas occurs in this basin, leading to natural oil slicks on the sea surface, natural emissions of gas into the water column and into the atmosphere, and shallow sediments charged with gas. Evidence of localized hydrocarbon seepage is readily imaged in satellite radar images (SAR), multi beam echo sounder data, and reflection seismic data. Knowledge of natural seepage of hydrocarbons are important for many important issues, such as hydrocarbon exploration, geohazards and stability of marine infrastructure environmental and ecological effects, understanding the budget of emissions of methane to atmosphere, and as analogues to leakage from subsurface CO2 storage. Despite this, the topic of leakage
has received little scientific attention compared to its great importance.

In Block 2, Quadrant 8 in the Norwegian North Sea, large, naturally occurring gas flares were imaged on a cruise with the GO Sars in 2023. These flares occur above the Mode salt diapir, and the 2022 Overly gas discovery. The gas leakage is hitherto poorly understood, and the objective of this project is to investigate cruise data from the 2023 cruise (high-resolution shallow seismic data, grab samples, multi-beam-echo sounder data), conventional 2D and 3D seismic data, and satellite SAR data to better understand the link between subsurface geology, shallow gas accumulations, leakage pathways, seabed topography and gas leakage. The goal will be to improve the understanding
of naturally occurring gas leakage in the North Sea.

This candidate will participate on marine geological cruises in 2024. This master's project is a part of the 4SWIND project funded by the Norwegian Research Council, Equinor, and Geoprovider. The master's student will work within this project and be exposed to industry sponsors and stakeholders through various project meetings and conferences.

Field- lab and analysis:
Analysis of cruise data (multibeam), preexisting multiclient conventional seismic data, satellite SAR data and well drilling and completion reports. Relevant data from cruises in 2024 will be included in the project.