Kick-off for unique expedition

August 22, 2005, 09:30 CEST

The unique Svalex expedition organised annually by Statoil to Norway’s remote Arctic Svalbard islands kicks off today, 22 August.

Roughly 90 students of petroleum-related subjects will be joining representatives from every university in Norway and international guests on this programme.

“Being organised for the sixth time, the expedition will give participants an understanding of Svalbard’s very interesting geology,” explains Svalex manager Jon M Huslid.

Students can sail around Svalbard and study sedimentary rocks in the exposed mountainsides. (Photo: Bjørn Vidar Lerøen)

“This is highly relevant for specialists who’ll be working in future on producing Norwegian oil and gas resources.

“Svalbard is a very suitable place to study because geological features similar to those hidden beneath the North and Norwegian Seas can be seen with the naked eye in these islands.”

Participants on the 14-day programme will be attending seminars, making field trips and shooting seismic.

The archipelago offers opportunities to hike and sail around while studying what amounts effectively to a cross-section of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) exposed on the mountainsides.

People can carry out close examinations of sedimentary rocks which form oil and gas reservoirs deep beneath the NCS.

“Feedback from these expeditions has been entirely positive,” says Mr Huslid.

“The education process is strengthened and its quality enhanced by bringing tomorrow’s specialists out of the classroom and into the field.

“Through Svalex, all the Norwegian universities have created a unique and close collaboration with each other.”

Statoil has always made use of Svalbard’s geology. The first geoscientists recruited by the group more than 30 years ago started their careers in the islands.

This activity was important for learning more about geological conditions on the NCS, and Statoil’s substantial expertise about the islands is significant for the oil and gas hunt.