Text and photos: Frank W. Jakobsen (PhD at CAGE) and André Jensen (NPD)
It has been reported about potential seepage of oil to the sea surface in various locations in the central Barents Sea. The potential oil is believed to originate from natural sources in the area and has been observed from both satellite images and scientific cruises. A part of this cruise aims to sample these sights to verify their origin and whether it’s oil. If it is oil, then taking these samples and analyzing them can help us to understand the source of the oil, its composition, and the geology better.
Everything you need to sample oil from the surface.
For this purpose, André Jensen (NPD) had brought a black box containing something that looks like a selfie stick, a little cloth, wooden sticks, and a glass bottle with screw cap. At first sight, not very high-tech stuff. However, the cloth is made of a highly sensitive and extremely clean membrane that will absorb any oil on the water surface, or any other surface for that matter. The cloth is simply put on the stick and waved around in the water surface where we can see oil slicks. After a few minutes of this, the cloth is safely put into the glass bottle using the wooden stick, and stored cooled until it can be analyzed in the lab.
André ready with a cloth attached to the stick. Looking for fresh oil slick to appear. The oil slicks are here seen as lighter patches partly drawn out by currents/wind. A fresh, round oil slick can be seen in the lower right corner.
André samples a fresh oil slick as it came up to the surface. Other drawn-out oil slicks can also be seen in this picture.
In collaboration with NPD and CIRFA we are looking for oil slicks guided by satellite images and watch duties on the bridge. After a few days of bad weather and poor conditions we finally found oil slicks on the surface! It’s fascinating to see small droplets of oil disperse as it come up to the sea surface, knowing it comes from a source deep down, potentially buried for hundreds of millions of years, all to become another colorful drop in the ocean.
Frank puts the cloth with oil samples in a glass bottles using a wooden stick.