Northern Lights disrupt oil exploration in the Barents Sea

Several companies that drill for oil in the Barents Sea,Northern LightsNorthern Lights tonight seen from Skuslfjord outside Tromsø.Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / Scanpix

Several companies that drill for oil in the Barents Sea, have observed that the instruments are disturbed – without knowing the cause of the disruption. New research shows that the northern lights is to blame.

It sounds strange, but the Northern Lights and drilling for oil are affected by the same phenomenon, engineer Inge Edvardsen in oil services company Baker Hughes says to the homepages of the Norwegian Arctic University (UiT).
He has written a doctoral thesis on the phenomenon after having researched the challenges of drilling that occurs when the northern lights are dancing in the sky.
The research got underway after Edvardsen wanted to find out why drilling wells in the North Sea and the Barents Sea went off course.
– The same particles that make auroras also produces currents in the atmosphere. When a current is created in the atmosphere, a magnetic field is created. And this magnetic field contains an external magnetic field, which affects wells being drilled down in the soil under the sea, the civil engineer says, according to NRK.
Currently, there is no clear answer on what can be done to prevent the Northern Lights from interfering with drilling, but Edvardsen has come up with some suggestions.
– These methods includes the use of monitoring stations by land. By these measuring stations the fluctuations in  the Earth’s magnetic field are recorded, which in turn can be used to correct the measurements made in the wells, he explains.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today