The primary objective of the research project "Microscale interaction of oil with sea ice for detection and environmental risk management in sustainable operations" (MOSIDEO) is to advance our knowledge of the interactions between oil and sea ice pore structure and develop parametrised description of oil behaviour and its influence on radar signals. This is a prerequisite for risk assessment and contingency planning of oil spills in sea ice-covered waters. MOSIDEO is a project of Norut Narvik and supported under the PETROMAKS2 program of the Research Council of Norway from 2015 through 2018. RCN project number 243812.

Project Summary

Petroleum activity is currently Norway's largest industry, and further development in the Arctic is expected to bring new potential for local value creation and development. Sea ice presents a novel challenge to planning, development, and production in the area. License blocks nominated for the 23rd licence round lie in seasonally ice-covered areas. The petroleum industry on the Norwegian continental shelf aims to be a world leader in ensuring environmental soundness, calling for the interaction of oil with sea ice, its fate, transport, and detection to be understood.

"Microscale interaction of oil with sea ice for detection and environmental risk management in sustainable operations" (MOSIDEO) is a research project aiming at understanding the fundamental science of oil behaviour in the sea ice pore space through experiments, observation, and modelling. Pore-scale understanding of the fate of oil in sea ice is limited due to challenges associated with investigating a material close to its melting point, and with immiscible oil-brine displacement processes in complex pore networks. MOSIDEO will develop methodology and equipment that overcomes these challenges. Intercomparisons with different tools will show potential and limits of alternative methods of pore scale investigations, and interpretation of radar signals in the context of oil distribution will be investigated. MOSIDEO will perform coordinated experiments and modelling at the both pore scale and effective medium scale to find formulations best suited to predict oil entrapment, migration and release in and from sea ice. Results will improve oil fate and dispersion models in sea ice-covered waters, and advance radar remote sensing techniques for oil detection in sea ice, supporting the decision process of stakeholders in risk assessment and spill response.

Project Partners

Norut Narvik (project owner)


Norut Tromsø

University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)

MOSIDEO group photo, 24 Feb 2015, Narvik
MOSIDEO kick-off meeting in Narvik, 24 Feb 2015. From left: Marc Olivier (UAF), Sønke Maus (NTNU), Tom Grydeland (Norut Tromsø), Chris Petrich (Norut Narvik). Photo: Ingeborg Sandvik.

Project Structure

WP0: Project Administration (lead: Norut Narvik)

WP1: Time-resolved X-ray tomography with synchrotron radiation (lead: NTNU)

WP2: X-ray tomography and field response linkages (lead: UAF)

WP3: Effective medium analysis and stakeholder applications (lead: Norut Narvik)

WP4: Radar detection (lead: Norut Tromsø)

WP5: Large-scale laboratory experiments (lead: Norut Narvik)

Chris Petrich (project management)