Rosneft completes Laptev, Kara Sea ice expedition

Photo from Rosneft showing 2014 Arctic Ocean expeditionRosneft reported today that the Arctic Research and Design Center (ARDC) has completed its 2014 winter ice field studies, the largest expedition in the Arctic Ocean.  The ARDC is a joint venture of Rosneft and ExxonMobil, supported by the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute Federal State Budget Institution.

For 63 days, scientists aboard the Yamal ice-breaker studied the least-developed areas of three northern seas: the Laptev, Kara, and East-Siberian Seas, off the coast of Novaya Zemlya and Severnaya Zemlya archipelagoes, and the De Long Islands.

The team carried out ice and meteorological measurements at 35 stations and installed 40 drifting buoys to monitor ice fields and icebergs, Rosneft says. The westernmost buoy was installed off the coast of Novaya Zemlya, and the easternmost buoy was installed along Bennett Island in the East Siberian Sea.

This season was the first time that many properties of the Laptev Sea were studied in depth, including physical and chemical properties of the sea and morphology of icebergs and hummocks. The team also studied iceberg drift along the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago for the first time, recording about 2000 icebergs along the eastern coast of the archipelago. A particularly large iceberg, 3km x 1km, was noted along Matusevich inlet.

The project employed remote-piloted vehicles and a KA-32 helicopter to explore the ice cover. Data from the ROV Gnom, which is capable of descending 100m to explore the sea floor, revealed sea floor gouges that indicate ice drift directions.

Oil and gas potential

Rosneft holds 46 licenses for offshore oil and gas exploration and production in the Russian Federation and says the Russian Arctic sedimentary basins have significant oil and gas potential.

The company said it will invest $400 billion in the Arctic shelf program within 20 years, and the "multiplicative effect will exceed this amount more than seven times."

Rosneft said it has conducted various research expeditions in its offshore Arctic license areas. In August 2013, Russian and international research and design organizations used 13 different vessels, 3 aircraft,  unmanned aircraft drones, subsea and above-water recording stations, satellite observation systems, and ROVs.

Read more:

Nuclear ice-breaker starts Arctic research, 9 April 2014

Rosneft, ExxonMobil begin grav-mag surveys in eastern Russian Arctic, 1 May 2014

The Laptev Sea: Beginning of the Transpolar Drift, 27 March 2014

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