ConocoPhillips has signed a joint venture agreement with Akvaplan-niva for three more years for the Glider project. This means more knowledge about the marine ecosystem.
The ocean drones (gliders) are autonomous and driven by wind, waves, gravity and solar energy. Research with ocean drones provides valuable knowledge about ocean life. By using gliders to collect new data, we will increase our knowledge about the impact industrial activities could have on the marine environment.
The first phase of the project was funded by the Norwegian Research Council together with ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips is committed to funding the research for three more years (2021-2023).
Every spring and autumn, seismic surveys are carried out on the Ekofisk field through permanent seismic cables on the seabed, which capture sound waves from the reservoir. The sensors on the gliders register how the sound propagates into the sea and the impact this has on fish, among other things.
This knowledge gives the industry an opportunity to plan its activities in a better way. Seismic surveys must take place at least 20 nautical miles away from the spawning areas of the fish during spring season. By utilizing the drone technology, it can be verified whether this distance requirement is reasonable. In addition, it has the potential to reveal whether seismic sound affects whales that graze on the fish in the area.
In the years 2017-2019, the unmanned vessels collected environmental data from the sea areas off Lofoten and Vesterålen, as well as a cruise where the gliders went from Longyearbyen and up to the ice edge at Svalbard. Data on meteorology (temperature, air pressure, wind), oceanography (temperature, salinity, oxygen, ocean currents) and biology (zooplankton, fish and marine mammals) are collected. Data are transferred from the gliders to PC via mobile network or satellite in real time.