TDI-Brooks International, Inc.

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October 2004

Black Sea Cruise for BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd.

TDI-Brooks Int’l Inc. in September 2004 conducted for BP Exploration Operating COMPANY Ltd a geochemical and geotechnical coring, environmental sampling, and metocean study.  The study was carried out in their ART/TPO-BP/3534 Block, offshore Turkey. The block lies in the far eastern part of the Turkish Black Sea adjacent to the border with Georgia. The centre of the Block is approximately 40-km offshore and approximately 130-km east-northeast of the port of Trabzon.  The cruise was mobilized and demobilized out of Trabzon.

Environmental sampling was carried out consistent with the HSE and baseline monitoring requirements for Turkish EIA purposes.  This component entailed seabed sediment box core sampling, ecological and water testing/sampling and plankton studies.  The geochemical coring component was undertaken to investigate seepage over features identified from 3-D seismic data surveys in the block.   The geotechnical and sedimentological cores in water depths between 1,100 and 1,750 meters were acquired for engineering purposes. The seabed morphology in the survey area is complex with broad and deep (i.e., up to 250-300 meters) canyons crossing the area.  Vertical Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) profiles were undertaken to measure current profiles in the study area.

Picture 1 - The R/V PIRI REIS

TDI-Brooks conducted the survey using the Turkish research vessel, the R/V PIRI REIS (Picture 1), mobilized out of Izmir. The R/V PIRI REIS is the primary multi-use oceanographic research vessel in Turkey. It is a 36-meter vessel, built in 1978 in Germany and has current Germanisher Lloyd classifications and inspections.   TDI-Brooks worked with BP to achieve stringent HSE standards and implementation of BP’s Golden Rules using the vessel.  The HSE component consisted of significant vessel upgrades to its safety equipment and procedures, development of JSA’s for all activities and training of the ship’s crew.  A three-day Pre-Start Meeting was held immediately prior to the start of the cruise focusing on safety, health and environmental issues. 

Picture Plate 2 - Gravity Coring Operations

The study was conducted during two consecutive cruise legs mobilized from Trabzon.   On Leg I (six days) the coring and metocean components were conducted.   The coring was conducted with a 4-meter, 300-kilo coring rig using PVC liner (Picture 2).   Cores were “navigated” to coring targets with a Kongsberg-Simrad HP-410 USBL and MST-342 beacons attached to the corer.   The USBL transducer was mounted on a side pole-mount.   GeoNav software was used in conjunction with C-Nav differential signals and the USBL positioning hardware to provide precision DGPS positioning of all cores.   A 300 KHz RD Instruments ADCP was deployed on the ship’s hydrowinch to obtain vertical current meter profiles from the surface to the seafloor (Picture 3).

Picture Plate 3 - ADCP Deployment

The environmental sampling component of the program was conducted on Leg II (five days).  Gardline Environmental under contract from ENRS/RSK conducted sampling of the water column and benthic environments at anticipated drill sites to characterize the water and sediment chemistry (Picture Plate 4).  Extensive box core sampling was also conducted around the proposed drill sites in an attempt to characterize the macro-infauna, though onboard indications were that macro-infauna were completely absent at depths sampled due to the high concentrations of H2S in the sediment/water interface and the lack of dissolved oxygen below the thermocline.  Plankton studies (phyto, zooplankton, and ichthyoplankton) were conducted by professors from the Black Sea Institute.

Picture Plate 4 - Plankton , cox coring and water column sampling operations

Participants in the TDI-Brooks team on this project were AOA Geophysics and Texas A&M University who assisted with the navigated cores and ADCP measurements respectively.  

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