On Sunday, August 2, the seismic data acquisition by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) in Troms II, northwest of Senja, was completed. Acquisition will continue for a few more days in Nordland VII in Vesteralen.
The acquisition in Troms II has gone completely according to plan. It commenced on June 30, and a total 805 square kilometers of 3D seismic has been acquired.
The acquisition was concluded one week ahead of schedule as the NPD now believes the data basis for Troms II is adequate to provide the Storting with the necessary technical assessment of the possibility of petroleum in this area. The data will now be processed and interpreted, and Sissel Eriksen, exploration director at the NPD, believes the results will be submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy during the spring of 2010. A revised management plan for the Barents Sea and the areas off Lofoten and Vesteralen will be presented to the Storting during 2010.
The weather conditions during the acquisition were good, and the cooperation with local fishermen was excellent, according to the fisheries expert on board the seismic vessel Ocean Explorer.
Seismic acquisition will continue at Nordland VII off Vesteralen for a few more days. Acquisition here has also been without problems. There have been no disruptions due to poor weather, and the seismic vessel have gained access to most of the area which was planned to be covered with 3D seismic. There has been and continues to be some fishing activity off Bo in Vesteralen. This means there will be some blank spaces in the area also after this summer's seismic activities, but the NPD has otherwise acquired data in all the prioritized areas.
The NPD exploration director Sissel Eriksen is satisfied with the summer's data acquisition, and is pleased so many fishermen accepted the NPD buy-out agreement. The NPD entered into agreements with approximately 120 fishermen who normally fish in Nordland VII and Troms II during the summer. "This gave us access and enabled us to do our job, as we were asked to do by the Storting," she said.
The summer's data acquisition concludes the authorities' seismic activities in Nordland VII and Troms II. The Storting has allocated a total of approx. NOK 400 million for the mapping of potential petroleum deposits in the area. Seismic acquisition has been conducted during three seasons, in 2007, 2008 and this year.
The NPD-funded consequential research project in Vesteralen, conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Maritime Research, will continue after the completion of seismic data acquisition. The project will continue until fishing has returned to normal. The primary objective is to gain more knowledge on the startle response seismic has on fish and how long the fish stay away from an area following a period of seismic.
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