September 2020 | New paper on Mimir High stratigraphy

Authors: S. Polteau, S. Planke, D. Zastrozhnov, M. Mansour Abdelmalak, N. Lebedeva-IvanovaE. Eckhoff Planke, H. Hovland Svensen, A. Mazzini, L. Gernigon, R. Myklebust, B. E. Kjølhamar, R. B. Pedersen, N. R. Sandstå and S. Bünz.


The Mímir High located along the Vøring Transform Margin provides a unique opportunity to recover in situ rock fragments from outcrops at the seabed. Such data are crucial to calibrate and document the stratigraphy of this frontier area and to understand the tectono-magmatic development of the Vøring Transform Margin prior to, during and after continental breakup.

In this contribution, we combine and present the results from VBPR seabed sampling of the Mímir High acquired during the Vøring Transform Margin Sampling VTMS00 and NPD 2013-B surveys carried out in 2000 and 2013, respectively. The samples were subsequently analyzed and dated using conventional sedimentology, organic geochemistry and biostratigraphy methods. Our results revealed that Upper Cretaceous to lower Eocene sediments and sill intrusions outcrop on the Mímir High.

We propose that during the Late Cretaceous-late Paleocene the proto-Vøring Transform Margin acted as an effective pathway to transport sediments from the emerged areas in the NE Greenland and Jan Mayen Ridge into the outer and distal Møre and Vøring basins as turbidite sequences.  Our results provide a stratigraphic basis for future IODP drilling campaign in 2021, where the Mímir High is one of the key targets to drill.

Link to paper  (50 days free access)

September 2020 | EAGE Carbon Capture and Storage: Online event 2. October 2020

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology aims to be part of the solution for a transition from an energy system based on fossil fuels to a more renewable and sustainable way of producing energy. The role CCS technology will play in the future energy industry is uncertain and open to discussion.

From the EAGE Special Interest Community in Decarbonization and Energy Transition, in partnership with the EAGE Local Chapters from London, Aberdeen, Oslo and the Oslo Society of Exploration Geophysicists, we invite you to join us in this exciting session about CCS opportunities and its future in the UK and the North Sea. We aim to bring together different perspectives, both from industry and academia, into a discussion which we want you to be part of.

Please register for the event here,

September 2020 | Milestone paper on glacial deposition and Pleistocene climate changes

Benjamin Bellwald, VBPR with article in the prestigious Nature Communications

Trough mouth fans comprise the largest sediment deposits along glaciated margins, and record Pleistocene climate changes on a multi-decadal time scale. Here we present a model for the formation of the North Sea Fan derived from detailed horizon and attribute interpretations of high-resolution processed 3D seismic reflection data. The interpretation shows that stacked channel-levee systems form up to 400 m thick sedimentary sequences. The channels are elongated and can be traced from the shelf edge towards the deep basin for distances of >150 km, and document long-distance sediment transport in completely disintegrated water-rich turbidite flows. Downslope sediment transport was a continuous process during shelf-edge glaciations, reaching accumulation rates of 100 m/kyr. Our data highlight that exceptionally large volumes of meltwater may discharge to the slopes of trough mouth fans and trigger erosive turbidite flows. We conclude that freshwater supply is likely an underestimated factor for sedimentary processes during glacial cycles.

September 2020 | Proposed Vøring drilling campaign accepted by IODP

Planned drill holes along the Norwegian rifted margin in the fall 2021

  • Do the volcanics of the Vøring and Møre margin witness melting of the same mantle components as in SE Greenland?
  • Does the along strike volcanism witness elevated temperatures consistent with a plume?
  • Do the volcanic facies reveal evidence for dynamic topography consistent with plume-ponding models?
  • Do hydrothermal vents in the basin link precisely with the onset of the PETM?

These first order questions will be addressed by the proposed drilling and will allow us to unravel the distinct end member models for the formation of excess volcanism during breakup (source composition, temperature anomaly related to a mantle plume, small scale convection), as well as the link between volcanism and global climate in the Paleogene. See also article in

IODP proposal submitted by:
Ritske Huismans, Christian Berndt, Sverre Planke, Morgan Jones, Christian Tegner, Jan Inge Faleide, Laurent Gernigon, Joost Frieling, Trond Torsvik, Damon Teagle, David Jolley, Asbjørn Breivik, Henrik Svensen, Dougal Jerram, Reidun Myklebust, Mansour Abdelmalak, Lars Eivind Augland, Susanne Buiter, John Millett

August 2020 | New paper on the end-Permian mass extinction

The Permian-Triassic boundary is outcropping in the stream bed of Deltadalen, Svalbard. A 100-meter-long core was drilled one kilometer south of the outcrop in 2014, recovering the boundary interval. The Grusryggen mountain in the background. View to the south. (Photo: Julian Janocha.

Mass extinctions – Lessons from the past

A new study led by Dr. Martin Schobben (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin), with co-authors from the Dept. for Geosciences (UiO), describes the causal chains between environmental changes and mass extinction at the Permian-Triassic boundary about 252 million years ago. From this study, scientists can get a glimpse of what might happen to biodiversity under the predicted global warming in the near future. New publication in Nature Geoscience.

This new study analysed two geological sections in Svalbard: one at Festningen in western Spitsbergen, and a core that Sverre Planke and his team (University of Oslo/Natural History Museum in London) recovered from Deltadalen in central Spitsbergen

July 2020 | 25R in P-Cable and Seafloor Sampling terrains

In the 25th licensing round, the Ministry proposes to announce nine areas that include an area of a total of 136 blocks, of which 125 in the Barents Sea (attached map). In the northern Barents Sea, from Fingerdjupet across the Hoop and Finnmark Platform, VBPR and TGS has invested in P-Cable and Seafloor Sampling data to investigate the hydrocarbon systems at highest possible resolution.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has made a petroleum professional assessment of which areas should be included in the 25th licensing round. Based on this, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has prepared a proposal for a call which is now being sent out for public consultation. After the consultation inputs have been assessed, the 25th licensing round will be announced during the autumn of 2020. The aim is for an application deadline for the new year and the expected award during the second half of 2021 (OED).


June 2020 | Norway opens offshore areas for wind power

12th June 2020 the areas "Utsira Nord" and "Sørlige Nordsjø II" were opened for offshore renewable energy production. This means it will now be possible to submit license applications for offshore wind power projects. Sørlige Nordsjø I and II (SNI and SNII) were found particularly suitable for wind farm development by the Havvind project. These areas cover approximately 1400 and 2500 km2, respectively. The entire study area is more than 50,000 km2.

The "Sørlige Nordsjø II" area was previously studied by VBPR as part of a research project on the assessment of how human settlement and remains could be influenced by the development of the Norwegian Continental Shelf.  The main activities of this sub-project were to gather and interpret existing data in the study area, to identify important data gaps, and to develop a paleogeographic model. The project is based on the approach by Gaffney et al. (2007). Some of the results have also been published by Hammer et al in 2016.

The report is available for licensing. Please contact


June 2020 | Disputation – Dmitrii Zastrozhnov – 1. July 2020

Disputation: Dmitrii Zastrozhnov

On 1st of July, VBPR geologist, Dmitry Zastrozhnov is defended the thesis “Regional Structure and Basin Development of the mid-Norwegian Volcanic Passive Margin: Anatomy of a Polyphased Rifted System” for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor at the Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo. This work encompasses and summarizes much of regional VBPR-TGS activities and provides more insights into the structure and prospectivity of the mid-Norwegian margin. The PhD defense is public, fully digital and streamed using Zoom. Follow the link for more details.


May 2020 | EAGE – DET Dedicated Session 10 June 2020

The "Energy Transitions Endeavor"  session goes online! While looking forward to their dedicated session at the EAGE Annual in December, you are invited to a preview and Q&A on 10 June 2020! The Decarbonisation and Energy Transition Special Interest Community (DET) in EAGE has now confirmed the programme, and everyone who wishes to attend needs to sign up in advance via this link Our dedicated session focuses on real actions contributing to a carbon footprint reduction throughout different geoscientific activities, including CCUS, geothermal and new technologies. The session brings together key speakers from universities, service companies, governments and authorities, sharing knowledge of the strategies used and lessons learned.

April 2020 | Hearing blocks for APA 2020 in VBPR core area

APA 2020 opens for sub-basalt exploration

Fenris Graben, Skoll High, Gjallar Ridge and Rån Basin soon open for exploration. Over the last 20 years, VBPR and TGS have invested in geological, geochemical and geophysical data in the outer Vøring basin and escarpment; initially with the Geophysical Atlas of the Møre and Vøring Basins (1999-2012), the North Atlantic Seafloor Sampling (2000-2016), and the Petroleum Implications of Sill Intrusions (2000-2003).

In 2013 a major effort was started, in collaboration with supporting oil companies, to unravel the Volcanic Margin Petroleum Prospectivity (VMAPP) of the outer continental margins around the North Atlantic. A breakthrough in petroleum system understanding was made with the outstanding seismic resolution of the P-Cable well tie line (2015), and with the access to the high-quality 3D cube CVX1101 (released 2015, currently being reprocessed with support from VBPR). Huge investments by TGS in new high-quality 3D coverage (AM17-18-19), and advanced reprocessing with high precision velocity models, has recently resulted in stunning  imaging improvements of the sub-basalt stratigraphy.

In addition to the new and reprocessed seismic data, applicants in APA2020 will need access to the Vøring Transform Margin Sampling (2000), Vøring Sampling (2016), the P-Cable 2D well-tie line (2015) and the deliverables from the VMAPP 1 and 2 project (2013-2021). Please contact VBPR or TGS sales representatives for quotations.