Research collaboration between academia and industry – ARCEx – the Research Centre for Arctic Petroleum Exploration

ARCEx is a research collaboration between academia (6 universities and 4 research institutes) and industry (6 industry companies). Through a common effort, we contribute to the understanding of the geology and resource potential of the high north, we develop new geophysical exploration techniques suitable for the Arctic, and we develop new models for environmental risk connected to operations in the north.

ARCEx will educate and train highly competent candidates for the industry and academia within petroleum geology and environment, and the centre will recruit at least 27 PhD and postdoctoral fellows. The centre has established a Master’s specialization in petroleum geology at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

The research is carried out at 6 universities (UiT, NTNU, UiO, UiB, UNIS and UiS) and 4 research institutions (Akvaplan-niva, NGU and NORCE (prev. IRIS and Norut). The Department of Geosciences at UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) is the host institution for the research centre.

ARCEx is funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN #228107), 6 industry partners (Equinor, Vår energi, Aker BP, Lundin, Wintershall Dea, and OMV), Troms fylkeskommune, and by in-kind contributions. The total funding is approximately 231 MNOK, and the project duration is 8 years.

The main goal of ARCEx is to create new knowledge about the petroleum resources in the Arctic and to provide essential knowledge and methodology for eco-safe exploration. 

This will be achieved through the following secondary objectives:

    • Enhance the understanding of large-scale processes of sedimentary basin formation and evolution of the Barents Sea and Arctic, and their impacts on petroleum systems.
    • Secure  correlation  of  geological  events  over  large  distances  in  diverse  geological environments of the Arctic.
    • Establish petroleum systems and play concepts for the different basins.
    • Assimilate new ecosystem knowledge for the different basins into advanced impact and risk analysis methodologies.
    • Develop technology for eco-safe exploration in the Arctic.
    • Create a research-based education and training program based on the scientific themes of the Centre.
    • Communicate results from the Centre to scientists, decision makers and the general public.

ARCEx – a multi-disciplinary research centre

ARCEx consists of a complex research program covering complementary subject fields such as geology, environmental risk and technology. Education and training is an integrated part of ARCEx.

ARCEx is sub-divided into five interconnected work packages addressing different research objectives.

WP1 Basin analysis: to understand the regional geology and tectonic evolution in the Barents Sea region and to provide a better basis to assess the petroleum potential and reduce exploration risk in the north.

WP2 Petroleum systems and play concepts: to provide detailed knowledge on basin characteristics, summarised in detailed paleogeography reconstructions to improve prediction of the resource potential of the Arctic Basins.

WP3 Environmental risk management: to develop new environmental risk management approaches tailored to the unique exploration and future operational challenges for Arctic areas.

WP4 Technology for eco-safe exploration in the Arctic: to develop the best possible geophysical data acquisition strategies to use – both with respect to the environment and data quality.

WP5 Education and outreach: to offer international top-level petroleum geology, geophysics, biology and ecotoxicology education and to ensure that highly competent candidates will provide a pool of experts for the industry and academia.

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