Maersk Oil, Univ. of Copenhagen Join Forces in Danish N. Sea Research

Maersk Oil has embarked on a 5-year joint research project with the University of Copenhagen's Department of Geography and Geology (DGG) entailing an unprecedented level of collaboration and data sharing to deepen its understanding of chalk reservoirs in the Danish North Sea.

Maersk Oil will mentor several PhD students for up to half a year at a time and have a direct data-sharing link to the DGG to help understand the large-scale processes that dictated where chalk was laid down and how oil and gas reservoir characteristics came to be formed.

Maersk Oil and its DUC partners, Shell and Chevron, will support the project with 13.5 million DKK over the period.

"The collaboration between Maersk Oil and the University of Copenhagen will be closer than ever," said Henrik Tirsgaard, Chief Geologist at Maersk Oil. "It will also be linked to new course modules at the university for which we will supply some of the expertise and support."

"We hope our joint collaboration will not only increase our knowledge of the North Sea chalk fields, enhancing our understanding of the surrounding climate, ecology and oceanography, but also encourage students to look with fresh eyes at our industry and its potential as an employer," he said.

The research will switch focus from large-scale easily identifiable features of the subsea geology to subtle and difficult to spot inter-chalk variations that might point to previously unseen hydrocarbon traps.

"Research at DGG has shown that the original process of rock formation, as deposits were buried and compacted over millions of years, had an impact on the porosity and small-scale variations of chalk," said Helle Krabbe, Lead Geologist and team lead in Danish near-field exploration.

"However, no geological models can yet predict these variations very well because of a lack of knowledge about the physical behavior of the original sediment. This long-term study hopes to address that," she said.