Denmark can be self-sufficient with energy for decades to follow, if it is possible to produce the very large oil- and gas deposits, which still exists deep below the seabed. So far, it has been too expensive and complicated to recover oil from great depth, why new technology is required, in order to make this possible. The success of the project can dramatically alter the future energy supply of Denmark.

Briefly about the project


Scientists from DTU, together with DONG Energy, Maersk Oil and Geo decided to establish the NEXTOIL project, supported by the Højteknologifonden. NEXTOIL stand for “New Extreme Oil and Gas in the North Sea”, and the ambition is to establish new knowledge, in order to make it possible to produce at high pressure and high temperature conditions. This unique know-how also applies beyond the Danish borders. The project has a total budget of 34 million kr., and the project will run from 2013-2015.


Greater depths and higher pressure.

The challenge with the large depth is that the pressure reaches 1.000 atm or more, and the temperature is at least 160 degrees Celsius. Therefore, it is a very costly and complicated task to produce the oil, which up until today has been deemed either very difficult or impossible. The ambition for the project is to supply new knowledge and to develop new models, which will contribute in making it possible to safely produce oil and gas at high temperature and pressure conditions.

“We are thrilled about the support we have received from the Højteknologifonden and the industry with this authorisation. In addition to the opportunity to strengthen the Danish economy considerably in the many years to follow, the NEXTOIL initiative will achieve know-how within secure High Pressure – High Temperature extraction. We gain a strong facility, which will be central in the global development within oil- and gas extraction in the years to come,” states Professor Erling Stenby, Head of Centre for Energy resources (CERE) at DTU.  

Fun fact

1.000 atm

The pressure in the oil reservoirs, deep below the surface, is more than 1.000 atm. The pressure in an average garden hose is two atm.

Did you know

Did you know that oil is found in chalk? A chalk sample contains between 30-50 % oil.

Did you know

Did you know that Geo handles core specimens in all sizes? The core specimens may range from 1 cm in diameter up to 1 meter.

Fun fact

25 ton

In Geo’s laboratory, we perform advanced strength and deformation tests on chalk with loads up to 25 ton. In comparison, this is a load similar to the weight of 223.214 iPhones.

Fun fact

200 degrees

In Geo’s laboratory, we test core specimens from 2-3 kilometres below the surface, by exposing them to temperature up to 200 degrees Celsius. This is crucial in order to examine the rock at realistic reservoir conditions.

Geo's role in the project


Geo’s contribution to the project is to build and test equipment for experiments, which is able to test limestone samples at extreme pressure (1.000 atm) and high temperatures (>200 degrees Celsius). At conditions as extreme as these, the Limestone behaves significantly different compared to ambient temperature, and to this day, there exist very few data and very few laboratories able to test at these conditions. In order to plan, drill and produce cost-effective and safely from oil wells in large depth, it is of crucial importance to have good data.


Subsurface Team leader Morten Stage from Maersk Oil emphasise the societal and environmental benefits from the new project:

“The North Sea is still rich in resources, and we now have to address the oil- and gas deposits, with are harder to produce. This research project can provide a substantial contribution to the safety of the environment, our people in the production and the surrounding societies, in order to safely and efficiently extract the remaining oil.“


Why Geo?

  • Geo contributes with a unique knowledge regarding testing of chalk, and the expertise to determine the Rock Mechanics properties.
  • Geo’s workshop contributes with innovative solutions and knowledge in the construction phase.
  • Geo has a long-standing close collaboration with DTU (The Technical University of Denmark), DONG and Maersk Oil.

Services used in the project
Laboratory Tests and Consultancy
Jack up rig

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