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MESOCOSM ARCTIC project: behavior of oil in the polar environment and response techniques







~ €890


Cedre (France)

AKvaplan Niva (Norway)

Bigelow (Maine, United States)

Iris (Norway)


As part of our work towards enhancing knowledge of oil behavior in the Arctic environment, Cedre is currently involved in a multi-partner IOGP-funded project.

This project, conducted under the Joint Industry Programme (JIP) and led by the Norwegian Institute Akvaplan-niva, involves several teams from France, Norway, and the United States.

The aim is twofold: to study the fate and impact of oil spills in the polar environment and to assess the impact of two response techniques (chemical dispersion and in situ burning). Cedre is tasked with designing enclosures (mesocosms) to allow the study to be conducted (behavior of oil, dispersed oil and burning residues) without contaminating the surrounding environment.

The project was launched in May 2014 and its experimental phase began in late January 2015 with the installation (at -20°C!) of 8 mesocosms in the ice on the Svea site in Svalbard, Norway.

The stage of the project consists in regularly taking core samples of ice and water samples up until June 2015. Three sampling campaigns were implemented, one in February, the second in March and the third in May, with a total of over 400 samples taken.





The project came to a close in July 2017 and, in terms of its results, it clearly showed that dispersant application promotes the development of the bacterial flora trapped in ice, consequently accelerating oil degradation kinetics. While these results meet the initial goals, questions nevertheless emerged during the project which are worthy of further investigation. On a personal level, this was a rewarding adventure which provided Cedre's agents with the opportunity to discover some magnificent landscapes as well as to experience extreme working conditions. Furthermore, it was also the chance to consolidate the links between the three institutes: Cedre and the two Norwegian organisations Akvaplan Niva and Iris.


Project website:


More Information

Final reports of the project.


Poster on the "Environmental Effects of Arctic Oil Spills: Oil Degradation & Persistence". Presented at the conference "Arctic Frontiers 2016" from 24-29 January in Tromsø, Norway

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