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Daily Archives: 24. September 2013 − News & Stories


Oil in Spits­ber­gen?

Oil in Spits­ber­gen? Oil and gas have been loo­ked for mul­ti­ple times sin­ce the 1960, and not­hing of eco­no­mic value had been found so far. It did not seem a rele­vent ques­ti­on any­mo­re, at least onshore.

Now it seems pos­si­ble that the­re might be oil in rele­vant quan­ti­ties whe­re few would have expec­ted it: natu­ral­ly stored in the coal. The paleo­ce­ne (60 mil­li­on years ago) coal that is mined in Spits­ber­gen has an oil con­tent that is hig­her than usu­al. Was the oil extrac­ted from the coal and sold sepa­r­ate­ly, then the value of one ton coal might see a signi­fi­cant rise: 150 oil-dol­lars against 70-80 dol­lars from coal sales, based on cur­rent world mar­ket pri­ces. And even the resi­du­al coke might still be sold for ener­gy pro­duc­tion.

The oil poten­ti­al of Spitsbergen’s coal reser­ves is rough­ly esti­ma­ted at 700 mil­li­on bar­rel: not a „game­ch­an­ger“ on the world mar­ket, but poten­ti­al­ly very important for the local mining com­pa­ny, Store Nor­ske. This does not inclu­de any reser­ves from coal older than the Paleo­ce­ne. The­re is coal from the Devo­ni­an, Car­bo­ni­fe­rous, Tri­as­sic and Cret­ace­ous in Spits­ber­gen, but the­se have not been inves­ti­ga­ted enough to say anything about their oil poten­ti­al.

In any case, the value of the resour­ces would rise signi­fi­cant­ly. This might also make coal seams inte­res­ting, that have so far been con­si­de­red com­mer­cial­ly unim­portant.

If this ever beco­mes rea­li­ty, is anything but cer­tain: the­re is, so far, no pro­cess avail­ab­le that could be used com­mer­cial­ly in Spits­ber­gen on an indus­tri­al sca­le. And any pro­cess would requi­re sub­stan­ti­al invest­ments, some­thing that would pro­vi­de dif­fi­cul­ties for Store Nor­ske, which is cur­r­ent­ly facing a huge defi­cit. And final­ly, explo­ita­ti­on of so far untouched coal resour­ces would be poli­ti­cal­ly high­ly con­tro­ver­si­al, even in the oil-and-gas-coun­try Nor­way.

Ship­ping coal from the port of Lon­gye­ar­by­en: will the­re be pipe­lines next to the cra­nes in the future?

Coal shipping, port of Longyearbyen

Source: Teknisk Uke­b­lad

Gas in Spits­ber­gen?

Gas in Spits­ber­gen? Oil and gas have been loo­ked for mul­ti­ple times sin­ce the 1960, and not­hing of eco­no­mic value had been found so far. It did not seem a rele­vent ques­ti­on any­mo­re, at least onshore.

Until recent­ly, when gas was found by pure coin­ci­dence in quan­ti­ties that has cau­sed rene­wed inte­rest and could actual­ly lead to pro­duc­tion in the future. It was during a rese­arch dril­ling for the CO2 sto­rage pro­ject in Advent­da­len (see “Lon­gye­ar­by­en CO2 neu­tral?” in spitsbergen-svalbard.com-news from May 2013) that gas star­ted to flow out from the well with a con­stant pres­su­re of 25 bar. The source rock is a shale at a depth of 700 meters. The owner of the area is Store Nor­ske, the mining com­pa­ny that is run­ning the coal mines in the same area (mine 7) and in Sveagru­va.

The­re is, howe­ver, still a long way to go befo­re any pro­duc­tion might poten­ti­al­ly start. Sub­stan­ti­al and expen­si­ve explo­ra­ti­ve dril­ling is nee­ded to inves­ti­ga­te the natu­re and volu­me of the occur­rence. If Store Nor­ske is able and wil­ling to invest hea­vi­ly seems at least cur­r­ent­ly unli­kely: the com­pa­ny is cur­r­ent­ly in a dif­fi­cult eco­no­mi­c­al situa­ti­on.

It would be a twist of iro­ny if reser­ach wit­hin a pro­ject desi­gned to make the ener­gy pro­duc­tion in Lon­gye­ar­by­en CO2-neu­tral would lead to the pro­duc­tion of even more fos­sil ener­gy in Spits­ber­gen.

The CO2-Lab in Advent­da­len near Lon­gye­ar­by­en: time will show if this is the site for future CO2 dum­ping or gas pro­duc­tion.

CO2-Lab, Adventdalen, Spitsbergen

Source: Petro.no

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