James Fisher completes Black Sea archaeological clearance survey for Lukoil

James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) has completed a deep-sea towed subsea survey project in the Black Sea offshore Romania for Russian oil and gas company Lukoil.

The survey was conducted in waters proven to contain artefacts of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman origin dating back centuries.

Being the site of a recent discovery of 60 shipwrecks that brought countless artefacts to the surface for the first time in centuries, the Black Sea is a region of significant scientific interest globally.

The work was conducted in compliance with a new Romanian environmental law dictating that an archaeological clearance survey must be carried out prior to any oil and gas exploration work in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea. This looks to identify any potential archaeological targets, and where none remain, sanctions the area as being clear of any archaeological interest.

JFMS procured the multi-purpose support vessel Ievoli Cobalt, mobilised with a towed side-scan sonar and sub-bottom profiler solution, together with a work-class remotely operated vehicle, Triton XLX WROV, for visual inspection of targets identified in the sonar data.

The survey required JFMS to identify any anomalies with dimensions exceeding one metre in all axes – using the side-scan sonar to search for surface targets and the sub-bottom profiler to detect sub-surface targets down to a depth of six metres.

Post-analysis of the gathered data revealed no targets of potential archaeological interest, meaning the Romanian authorities are now free to issue an archaeological discharge certificate and Lukoil may now proceed with drilling and construction operations in the field later this year.

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