The Greater Barents Sea Basin extends from the area between Finnmark and Svalbard in the west, to the Russian Kara Sea to the Pechora Sea in the east. This area has a complex and varied history that we want to understand. We are mainly investigating the deposits from the Triassic, a time period that occurred c. 250 - 200 million years ago. Deposits from this time are important because they contain evidence of the largest mass extinction that ever occurred. During the Permian ? Triassic mass extinction, c. 90% of the marine species on the earth died out. The deposits in the area are also relatively poorly explored and are believed by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to contain most of the yet-to-find hydrocarbon resources on the Norwegian continental shelf. Significant resources are also present in the Russian parts of the Barents Sea. Reservoirs in the Barents Sea may also be used for CO2-storage, as has been done on the Snøhvit field.
In this project, we have collaborated with geologists from Moscow State University to better understand the basin and how it evolved through time. Specifically, we have acquired and interpreted data to understand (1) how the basin was uplifted and cooled by looking at radioactive isotopes and radiation damage in rocks, (2) the structure of the rocks and distribution of reservoirs, and finally, (3) when fluids such as oil and gas was generated and when and if they leaked out of reservoirs.
The FueBAR project has not achieved everything we wanted it to within the project period. This has mainly three reasons, (1) no funds to cover salary in project leading to little flexibility in case of unexpected delays, (2) lab closures and delays caused by COVID19 restrictions significantly delaying acquisition of apatite data, and (3) delays, travel restrictions and cancelled funding due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Still, we are making progress and plan to cover most project project objectives, but with reduced ambitions when it comes to timing and magnitude of uplift (no new fission track data, output will be based on older data provided by partners) and basin modelling (unclear when modelling in 3D will take place).
Thus, Outcome 1 is delayed and will not include new thermochronological data but will rather use older data provided by partners,
Outcome 2 has been partly covered in a published article (Gilmullina et al 2023), a paper in revision (Sirevaag et al in revision 2023), and will be covered further in the paper based on Outcome 1, and several other upcoming papers.
Outcome 3 will be divided into two, a paper on basin modelling of the Barents Sea in 2D by the Moscow State University group, on data provided by us, which is forthcomming; and modelling of the entire Barents Sea in 3D which it is currently uncertain how we will fund, but it will be based on Outcome 1 and the work already done in Outcome 3.
This collaborative project between the University of Bergen (UiB) and Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) will help improve success in hydrocarbon exploration in the Barents Sea by increasing the understanding of thermal events, erosion and basin dynamics. The FueBAR project will do this by using low-temperature thermochronology (apatite fission track, apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He dating) combined with regional seismic interpretation to date cooling events and estimates of uplift and erosion all over the Greater Barents Sea (Norwegian and Russian Barents Sea, northern Kara Sea, Timan-Pechora Basin, Svalbard, Franz Josef Land), and use information from step 1 to perform basin modelling of the entire Greater Barents Sea to better understand the timing of source-rock maturation, hydrocarbon generation, hydrocarbon charge and trap leakage.
The project contains 3 work packages, WP1 will deal with project organization, seismic interpretation and creating conceptual geological models from data collected, WP2 will deal with analysis of geochronological and thermochronological data, and WP3 will deal with basin modelling based on the regional understanding of burial, erosion and thermal regime of the basin gained from WP1 and 2. WP1 and 2 will be based at the University of Bergen (UiB) and WP3 will be based at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU).
The present application for the FueBAR project is an addendum to the fruitful ISBAR-project where collaboration between
UiB and MSU is already ongoing. Within the ISBAR project, regional seismic interpretations and estimates of Triassic sediment volumes supplied to the basin is conducted.