GFZ Laboratory container (BUGLab) back from its maiden voyage to the Barents Sea

GFZ Laboratory container on its maiden voyage to the Barents Sea

The mobile GFZ laboratory container (BUGLab) successfully finished its first expedition to the Barents Sea

08.01.2010 | Potsdam: On November 14th 2009 the Norwegian research vessel „H.U. Sverdrup II“ with the GFZ Laboratory container on board started from the Norwegian port Tromsø on a scientific expedition, sponsored solely by the Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum, into the south western Barents Sea.

The aim of the science project entitled “A combined geochemical, biogeochemical and microbiological investigation of seabed pockmarks in the Barents Sea” is the geochemical, biogeochemical und microbiological characterisation of seabed pockmarks north of Norway. In addition to geochemical parameters such as the gas content and fossil hydrocarbons, especially, the microbial communities associated to the pockmarks will be investigated using biogeochemical and microbiological approaches. The project aims to quantify and characterise the shallow gas in the subsurface associated with pockmark features, and to understand the environmental impact of shallow gas in the Barents Sea. Importantly, shallow gas in the shallow subsurface could represent drilling hazards, if not properly assessed. Furthermore, the geological history of the generation, migration and sequestration dynamics of fossil hydrocarbons will be assessed.

The excellent collaboration of the different participating teams led to a successful expedition. The co-ordinates for the sampling targets were selected by Lundin Petroleum and prepared in co-operation with the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU). FFI (Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt) provided the research vessel and the navigator crew being responsible for the correct sampling positions. Supported by the scientists from Potsdam, the coring was conducted by Fugro Geolab Nor AS. However, the main task of the Potsdam crew was to take samples from selected cores from pockmark and reference sites at high resolution. In this context, the mobile laboratory container “BugLab”, being on this cruise on its maiden voyage, proved to be extremely valuable. The protective environment of the container was not only used for the extensive sampling operations but also to initiate important experiments, which only can be conducted immediately after the cores have been taken. A total of 214 cores were taken during the cruise. 32 of these were sampled in high resolution leading to a total sample amount processed in the container of 3200 samples.