Guest lectures minor oil & gas 2013

In November 2013 IMARES Wageningen UR presents a series of two guest lectures for the minor oil & gas in Den Helder, The Netherlands. The guest lectures focus on the social and environmental challenges of oil & gas exploitation in the Arctic.

The minor is organised by a multitude of research institutes, applied universities and companies, cooperating under the umbrella of the Maritime Campus Netherlands. Aim is to train students of universities of applied sciences and to make them enthusiastic for starting a career in the oil & gas sector. The course consists of a variety of modules covering themes such as safety, communication, drilling and production processes and logistics.

This information is specifically for students attending the two IMARES guest lectures.

Een booreiland wordt gesleept naar de haven.
Een booreiland wordt gesleept naar de haven.


On 4 November 2013 the first guest lecture was scheduled. Martine van den Heuvel-Greve and Bas Bolman explain what the challenges of Arctic drilling are. It is clear that there is a high demand for hydrocarbons worldwide due to the growing world population. However wells in easily accessible areas are getting empty; therefore the new focus is on wells that are located deeper and colder. At the same time operating in the Arctic involves numerous challenges. Examples are:

  • Working in extreme conditions,
  • Safety and rescue limitations,
  • Navigation and communication issues,
  • Technical challenges such as icing and the behaviour of materials at low temperatures.
Baardrob (© Martine van den Heuvel-Greve)
Baardrob (© Martine van den Heuvel-Greve)

Ecosystems and people

The Arctic also has unique environments with sensitive ecosystems and special traditional and local communities. These environments and people are already under pressure due to climate change; new activities make it even more challenging for  them. The major concern is of course the risk of an oil spill. What happens to Arctic environments in case of an oil spill? Are there response options available? These issues lead us to the main challenge of how to operate in the Arctic in a sustainable manner and what is needed to do this.

Photo: Wojtek Moskal, Norwegian Polar Institute

Film “Towards sustainable use of the Arctic”

During the summer of 2013 scientists of IMARES departed on an expedition to the Dutch Arctic station in Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen. The research in Ny-Ålesund focused on measuring the effectiveness of ballast water treatment at low temperature and the development of bioindicators. The latter being the PhD research of Ariadna Szczybelski. The challenge is to find suitable marine organisms to monitor the quality of the marine environment around oil & gas platforms. The experiences of the team were captured by cameraman Ruben Kocx from HPM. This resulted in a film (in Dutch) on the knowledge that is needed  for working towards a sustainable use of the Arctic.

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Group assignment

The group assignment  is carried out between 4 and 18 November 2013. It consists of four themes.

  1. Technical aspects of drilling in the Arctic
  2. Oil spills in Arctic environments
  3. Polar research
  4. Arctic animals and plants

On 18 November 2013 the groups present their results in a creative way. The group assignment can be downloaded below.  


These guest lectures are a cooperation between the Maritime Campus Netherlands, NHL University for Applied Sciences and IMARES. The lectures and film are financed by the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO). The aim of the funding is to support regional cooperation, to encourage gender equality and to facilitate e-learning. The field work on Spitsbergen is financed by TripleP@Sea.