Island Valiant completes successful pioneering exploration task

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 12 October 2020

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Island Offshore’s Island Valiant has completed a five week expedition in the Norwegian Sea, drilling for core samples at the Mohns Ridge on behalf of The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) and operator TIOS. The project is characterised as ground-breaking work; drilling with coil tubing at more than 3000 metres depth.

“Up until now large drilling rigs were needed to perform such operations. Accomplishing this with a significantly smaller vessel is unique,” said Per Buset, Project Manager in TIOS. “Several world records were set, and I cannot praise all involved parties enough in this ground breaking project.”

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The Mohns Ridge is an oceanic spreading ridge that separates two tectonic plates. Previous mappings have proven deep sea mineral deposits in the area, but these findings were made by gathering stone samples from the seabed. The objective of this expedition was to drill into the mineral deposits and collect core sample from the formation. In addition to the drilling activity, a lot of the exploration and search has been done using ROV (remotely operated vehicle).

The ROV was filming the seabed in order for the geologists to orient themselves and decide which locations to take samples from. The ROV is also equipped with arms to pick up stones and sediment from the seabed, which was preliminary analysed by geologists on board. Now all valuable information will be further analysed ashore; both the rock samples from the seabed and the core samples showing what can be found deeper down in the formation.

“This is a pioneer expedition in every way possible,” said Exploration Director at NPD, Torgeir Stordal. “This is the first utilisation of coil tubing technology at such great depths, and it is the first time that this kind of drilling technology is used to explore seabed mineral deposits. As this is unknown territory we could not be confident that this would work. However, we have used the competence built up through fifty years of experience from the Norwegian petroleum industry, and this project showcase what this industry is capable of. With this, Norwegian technology and competence pave the way; demonstrating that they are leading within seabed minerals exploration.”

The ground-breaking technology has previously been utilised for two pioneer projects for Island Offshore. First by drilling for core samples in connection with the new mainland connection Rogfast in Rogaland for the Directorate of Public Roads. Further, coil tubing was used for shallow gas pilot hole drilling for Centrica Energy. Now the technology is qualified for considerably deeper sea levels.

“Congratulations are in order to the project team and the crew especially for the excellent accomplishment, pioneering solutions and good HSE work. This is truly extraordinary and demonstrates what TIOS and Island Offshore can achieve together. We are proud of the confidence NPD has shown in us, and hope that this can contribute to the beginning of a new Norwegian offshore adventure,” says Tommy Walaunet, Managing Director of Island Offshore Management AS.

A total of 50 persons participated in the expedition, including the vessel’s crew, TIOS as general contractor as well as several geologists from NPD. Halliburton and Oceaneering who have also been central suppliers to the operation.

The results of this third mapping will be a vital part of the groundwork for a resource evaluation for seabed minerals which NPD has been assigned to execute on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

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