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> Forsiden > Arkiv > GHEXIS > GHEXIS Newsletter No. 18

Ghexis newsletter No.18 - December 2000

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Newsletter No. 18 - December 2000


1: Qulleq-1: the Fylla exploration well 
2: Invitation to nominate blocks on the West Greenland continental shelf announced
3: Seismic acquisition during summer 2000 – the Canadian connection
4: Oil Spill Sensitivity Atlas for Southwest Greenland released
5: New information CD available – order form

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Qulleq-1: the Fylla exploration well

The drilling of the Qulleq-1 well (6354/4-1) in the Fylla area during summer 2000 has attracted considerable attention. However, the well which terminated at a total depth of 2937 metres below sea level, turned out to be dry and is now permanently plugged and abandoned. Nevertheless, the results from the well are very interesting since the presence of sandstone units of Late Cretaceous age has been demonstrated in the deepest part of the well. An interview with Statoil highlights the lessons learned from this year‘s exploration activities. Read more.

West Navion operating in Greenland waters.

West Navion operating in Greenland waters

Invitation to nominate blocks in preparation for the 2001 licensing round

A licensing round in 2001 for selected areas offshore West Greenland between 63°N and 68°N was announced in 1999 (see Ghexis 15). A nomination has recently been initiated in preparation for the round, and in order to provide companies with easy and inexpensive access to the comprehensive seismic data base of TGS-NOPEC, GEUS and Nunaoil, a short term seismic leasing package has been introduced. Read more.

Seismic acquisition activities – the Canadian connection

During summer 2000, three seismic vessels have operated in the waters off West and Northwest Greenland. TGS-Nopec acquired approx. 6300 km of non-exclusive seismic data using Zephyr. The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum funded a 1340 km seismic survey in Baffin Bay using Thetis which was also used by Phillips Petroleum for acquisition in the Sisimiut-West licence. More than 2700 km high resolution seismic data were acquired by GEUS in the waters around Nuussuaq using the research vessel Dana. Read more.

Oil Spill Sensitivity Atlas for Southwest Greenland released


Qulleq-1 and the media: myths and facts about the Fylla exploration well
An interview with Statoil

The drilling of the first exploration well off West Greenland for almost 25 years, the Qulleq-1 well (6354/4-1) in the Fylla area has – as expected – attracted considerable attention from the media, especially in Greenland and Denmark. However, several reports on the well have also appeared in the international oil press.

Because of the impending licensing round in 2001, some international petroleum journals have taken the opportunity to publish general articles on exploration possibilities in Greenland, e.g. ’Upstream‘ (18 August issue), ’AAPG Explorer‘ (September issue) ’Hart‘s E&P‘ (September issue) and ’Offshore‘ (October issue).

The diverse newspapers, journals, television and radio channels covering the progress of the well have focussed on different aspects of Greenland exploration. Journalistic approaches have ranged from great expectations of finding gas and oil to more sober consideration of the risk, from exaggerated descriptions of ice and harsh arctic weather conditions to comments about Greenland being operationally much like anywhere else in world. The reported delays together with the ’tight hole‘ classification provided a fertile soil for the growth of myths and rumours about technical problems and drilling results, and various guesses about future exploration in West Greenland.

Position of the Qulleq-1 well. Click to enlarge

Position of the Qulleq-1 well.

Because the licensing round for the region off West Greenland between 63°N and 68°N (a region comparable in size to the Central Graben – Viking Graben province of the North Sea) will be preceded by the recently launched nomination round, an overview of the outcome of Qulleq-1 and the technical delays and problems during drilling may well be appreciated by readers of Ghexis. The press release that reported the results of the well did not add much new information directly applicable to assessment of the exploration potential of West Greenland. Therefore, Ghexis has interviewed Exploration Manager Mr Ånon Spinnangr from Statoil to add some more useful information about the experience and results gained from this maiden exploration well in Greenland‘s offshore acreage.

Further geological data to be released in 2001

Obviously, the Qulleq-1 well is still classified as ’tight‘, but what is the time frame for the extensive technical work that will be carried out by the operator and when will decisions about future exploration within the licence be taken?

At present we are working very hard to analyse both the seismic data and the data gathered by the well. We plan to finalise a well report to the authorities (BMP) at the end of the year, and before we have finished this, we cannot add anything to that already mentioned in the press. Originally, our deadline for informing the BMP about our future plans in the licence was 15 December 2000. But since the well was first drilled during summer 2000 with a very tight schedule for the following technical work we have asked for a postponement until 15 March 2001 for final decisions on whether to proceed in the second subperiod of the licence.

For the last six years, the industry has known that the Fylla area contains large rotated fault blocks with prominent flat spots or CCR‘s (cross cutting reflectors, ed.) as you prefer to call them. Furthermore, the press release mentions sandstones of presumed Early Cretaceous age at TD of the well. Can Statoil comment further on this information at present?

Well, what we can say now is that the CCR was found not to be related to a hydrocarbon charge. It has also turned out that the drilled Cretaceous succession comprised only Upper Cretaceous marine sediments and that the Cretaceous succession was not fully penetrated.

Arctic challenges – valuable experience

From some of the news coverage, readers could easily get the impression that much of the four weeks total down-time was caused by icebergs and other conditions special to the Arctic. What was the reality behind this figure?

The rather significant delays to the drilling were not caused by ice but by the fact that we were exposed to several technical problems. We had problems with both the BOP and the wellhead – problems that took much more time due to the deep water (1152 m). We did have quite a lot of encounters with ice too – actually quite unexpectedly since this is not normal for these waters during that time of the year – but nevertheless, we had prepared ourselves for that situation with a comprehensive Ice Management Plan. This turned out to be very effective and downtime due to icebergs in the vicinity of the drill ship for the entire operation was only 33 hours, most of it during the early part of the operation. With the experience we got during the first couple of weeks on currents, tides and drift patterns we would have been able to reduce this time even further to maybe only a few hours. We were also a bit surprised that the weather conditions, especially the waves, were not nearly as harsh as we had expected. Although storms can emerge very quickly in the Arctic they only caused delays during the last few days of the operation, when a hurricane rushed by during pulling of the BOP.

It is no secret that your operation in Greenland was quite expensive since you had to prepare yourself for almost anything. What is your impression on cost compared to other frontier areas in similar settings?

Well, it was expensive, but on the other hand, our original budget for a dry-hole case was around 25 M USD including the site surveys. As everybody knows, this price does not include delays of the types we had, but budget was only slightly higher than that we‘re used to off western Norway, and many factors account for that. A major factor here was that we had to use a quite ’conservative‘ well design to minimise all operational risks as this was the first well in the basin. Based on what we know now, we will be able to drill future wells in the basin at a significantly lower cost.

In Greenland “impossible” is an unknown word

Outside the Nordic countries, Greenland is often thought of as a vast ice-covered island with a very small population living in isolated settlements with a poorly developed infrastructure. While it is true that the Arctic climate and the large distances in the country create some special conditions, Greenland is now a modern, western society with a well-developed infrastructure. What is Statoil‘s experience in operating the drilling from a base in the capital Nuuk?

To be honest, we did not really need to set up an office in Nuuk to run the operation. Like any other company we do, however, sometimes like to wave the flag, and our experience was actually very positive. But, as Norwegians, we are also used to high prices not only on beer. We got some very good offices with excellent services; especially the lifeline to our headquarters in Norway – the telephone and data transmission system – always worked flawlessly apart from the two or three times they cut the cables in Stavanger!

Nuuk harbour with Statoil offices.

Nuuk harbour with Statoil offices

The transportation from Europe to the drill ship approx. 140 km off the west coast of Greenland is a bit complicated and bound to cause logistical problems, especially during poor weather conditions. How would Statoil describe these logistical problems?

We had a contract with Greenlandair who handled every aspect of the weekly transport of personnel from Copenhagen via Stavanger to the drill ship. Since the international airport at Kangerlussuaq has one of the most stable climates in the world we never had any problems in getting our crew or gear from Norway to Greenland. Generally, the route onwards to Nuuk, which was flown with smaller planes, did not cause major problems either, but fog at sea or in Nuuk turned out to be an obstacle in getting the crew – or press – to or from the drill ship on the scheduled days with the helicopter. Nevertheless, Greenlandair and their pilots were very flexible – we never heard the words “it‘s not possible” – and somehow they always managed to solve the various problems to our satisfaction.

Exploration in Greenland – the environmental issues

Although the Government of Greenland hopes that production of oil and gas will be one of the mainstays of the economy in the future it is also very aware of the problems associated with exploration in the sensitive arctic fishing-waters of Greenland. Therefore, a lot of work has been carried out by both the authorities and the Statoil-group to minimise environmental risks and to inform the Greenland population of the planned activities. What are Statoil‘s comments to the results of this work?

For Statoil, the environmental considerations related to exploration have extremely high priorities too. Therefore, we have had no problems in co-operating with the authorities in Health, Security and Environmental matters concerning the Qulleq-1 well. We have carried out detailed environmental studies in the Fylla licence region on behalf of the group and even modelled the effects of a blow out. And for the drill-ship we have made every effort to minimise any HSE-risk on board, e.g. spills and accidents. This work has actually resulted in an internal nomination of the drilling project for the highly esteemed Statoil Environmental Prize – and this is in fact the first time this has happened to an exploration drilling project. The authorities have prepared an environmental sensitivity map for the offshore and coastal areas in preparation for the drilling (see separate article in this volume of Ghexis). All these activities have had a lot of public interest in Greenland, and we, that is Nunaoil on behalf of the Statoil-group, and the authorities have presented the results for local authorities and at public meetings in the major fishing and hunting centres along the coast. Naturally, there was concern on how the exploration activities could affect the fishing industry – especially in case of accidents – but the discussions following the presentations by the authorities and Nunaoil showed that there was a positive attitude towards the petroleum industry in general and the government‘s handling of the environmental issues.

Furthermore, Statoil has maintained close contact with international environmental groups such as Greenpeace informing them of the environmental and political aspects of the operations in Greenland.


Invitation to nominate blocks on the West Greenland continental shelf announced

The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP) is presently preparing a licensing round off West Greenland (see Ghexis no. 15). The round is planned to open mid-June 2001 with an expected closing date late 2001 and will include selected areas offshore West Greenland between 63°N and 68°N.

BMP wants to base its decision on which specific areas to include in the round upon as complete information as possible. To this end, interested oil companies have been invited to nominate priority areas which they would like to see included in the licensing round.

The licensing round is expected to include all blocks nominated by companies and areas covered by seismic surveys carried out in the period 1999–2000. The names of nominating companies and the result of the nomination will not be made publicly available. However, BMP plans to publish general statements on the outcome of the nomination.

A copy of the nomination letter can be found on BMP website‘s News Desk (www.bmp.gl). Nominations should be submitted not later than 26 March 2001 to BMP. Any questions regarding the nomination procedure should be addressed to BMP.

Blocksystem in use off West Greenland.

Blocksystem in use off West Greenland

Sources of information

In order to give interested companies easy access to as much information on West Greenland as possible, a CD-ROM containing information on licensing policy and West Greenland geology (including prospectivity, source rocks and play types), data types and operational conditions has been prepared by GEUS. The CD-ROM is available free of charge from BMP, GEUS or Nunaoil (order form on the Ghexis website: www.geus.dk/ghexis or on the last page of this issue).

Furthermore, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) can give presentations on the offshore geology and hydrocarbon potential of West Greenland either at GEUS‘s Copenhagen office or at companies‘ own offices. In addition, seismic data from offshore West Greenland can be inspected at GEUS‘s office in Copenhagen on Landmark workstations. For all presentations, appointments should be made in advance by contacting the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).

Information CD-ROM. Click to enlarge

Information CD-ROM

Contact: Flemming G. Christiansen;
phone: +45 3814 2727; fax: +45 3814 2050;
e-mail: fgc@geus.dk; web: www.geus.dk/ghexis

Nunaoil A/S (the national oil and gas company of Greenland) can offer presentations to companies wishing to update their knowledge on the commercial possibilities in hydrocarbon exploration offshore West Greenland. Nunaoil can be contacted at the following address:

Nunaoil, P.O. Box 579, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland
Contact: Hans Duus Jørgensen;
phone: +299 328703; fax: +299 328704;
e-mail: nunaoil@nunaoil.gl; web: www.nunaoil.gl

Seismic data package on a short-term lease basis

TGS-NOPEC, GEUS and Nunaoil have agreed to provide oil companies with easy and inexpensive access to their comprehensive data base of modern non-exclusive seismic data offshore West Greenland. The agreement secures utilisation of 25,000 km of 2D data at only 20 % of EP prices for block nomination in connection with the upcoming licensing round off West Greenland in 2001. Details can be found on the TGS-NOPEC web site: www.tgs-nopec.no. For further information, contact:

Contact: Jens Christian Olsen, Veras Alle 7, DK-2720 Vanløse , Denmark;
phone: +45 3874 5950; fax: +45 3874 9489
e-mail: jenschristian@tgsnopec.no

Seismic data package on a short-term lease basis. Click to enlarge


Seismic acquisition during summer 2000 – the Canadian connection

This summer 3 seismic boats have operated in the waters off West and Northwest Greenland.

TGS-NOPEC continued last years acquisition of non-exclusive seismic data in the area designated for the licensing round in 2001. The seismic survey vessel Zephyr acquired more than 6300 km of seismic data mainly in the region between the two existing licenses. In particular, the data coverage in the Kangâmiut Ridge area was improved considerably. As a novelty, TGS-NOPEC acquired 3 regional tie lines in Canadian waters in order to link the Canadian and Greenland basins. The TGS-NOPEC seismic data base now comprises more than 9000 km of high-quality data. Further information:

TGS-NOPEC; contact: Jens Christian Olsen
phone: +45 3874 5950
fax: +45 3874 9489
e-mail: jenschristian@tgsnopec.no

The Danish fishery inspection vessel Thetis equipped with seismic gear and operated by Nunaoil, acquired proprietary seismic data within the Sisimiut-West license area for the Phillips group (approx. 1200 km). The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum funded a seismic survey in the Baffin Bay area. The survey was designed as infill to the existing regional KANUMAS survey in order to achieve a denser seismic coverage of the central parts of the Melville Basin. A total of 1340 km were acquired. Further information:

BMP; contact: Hans Kristian Schønwandt
phone: +299 346800
fax: +299 324302
e-mail: bmp@gh.gl

Seismic data acquired in 2000. Click to enlarge

Seismic data acquired in 2000

GEUS used the Danish research vessel Dana to acquire high resolution seismic data in the waters around Nuussuaq in co-operation with the University of Aarhus and funded by the Danish Energy Research Programme and BMP. This project aims to improve the structural understanding of the shallow part of the Nuussuaq Basin. The new data will also have direct implications for assessing the hydrocarbon potential of the onshore areas. Due to exellent weather and ice conditions more than 2700 km of data were acquired in only 18 days. It is expected that processing of the data will be completed by the end of this year. Further information:

GEUS; contact: e-mail: info-data@geus.dk


Environmental Oil Spill Sensitivity Atlas for Southwest Greenland

The Danish Energy Agency has financed an environmental sensitivity mapping project of the coastal areas of western Greenland between latitudes 62°N and 68°N.

The background for the project was the drilling of this summer‘s exploration well in the Fylla area. Even though the risk of an oil spill from a well is very slight, the project was initiated by the Danish Energy Agency and BMP as part of the oil spill contingency planning.

The objective of the project was to obtain an overview of the natural resources, including the biological resources (fish, birds, etc.), and fishing and hunting interests that are sensitive to an oil spill. With the aid of the atlas, the authorities and companies would be able to identify in advance where to focus their efforts against an oil spill should it become necessary to prioritise areas.

The project was carried out by various Danish and Canadian institutions including the Danish National Environmental Research Institute (NERI) and GEUS. Read more here.

The atlas is available on CD-ROM. Contact:

Danish Energy Agency, Joe Nazareth, Amaliegade 44, DK-1256 Copenhagen K, Denmark;
phone: (+45) 3392 6714; fax: (+45) 3311 4743; e-mail: jln@ens.dk


Government of Greenland, P.O. Box 930, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland
Tel.: +299 34 68 00, Fax.: +299 32 43 02, E-mail: bmp@gh.gl
Homepage: www.bmp.gl

Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Tel.: +45 38 14 20 00, Fax.: +45 38 14 20 50, E-mail: geus@geus.dk
Homepage: www.geus.dk

ISSN 0909-0630 

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Last modified: 10 March 2002 © GEUS
GHEXIS is published by GEUS in co-orporation with the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, Government of Greenland
GHEXIS publiceres af GEUS i samarbejde med Råstofdirektoratet, Grønlands Hjemmestyre
GHEXIS Newsletter No. 18