Capetown, South Africa, February 12, 2020. Making 200 years since the discovery of Antarctica, the Academic Alexander Karpinsky research vessel of Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition JSC (PMGE, a subsidiary of Rosgeo) has successfully completed the comprehensive marine geophysical explorations under the program of the 65th Russian Antarctic Expedition. The geologists' objective was to explore the subsurface geological structure and to assess the oil-and-gas bearing prospects of the Antarctic Shelf.

Rosgeo conducted the marine explorations in the south-eastern part of the Riiser-Larsen Sea off the coast of Queen Maud Land. The comprehensive explorations included the common-depth point seismic reflection survey using the 7000 m long towed streamer, multibeam echo-sounder survey, gravimeter observations, and differential shipboard magnetometer survey.

In January 2020, the research vessel Academic Alexander Karpinsky completed the shipboard magnetometer survey in the north-eastern part of the test site. The total amount of hydromagnetic profiles was 950 line km.

The common-depth point seismic reflection survey of 3450 line km in combination with the gravimetric and hydromagnetic measurements, as well as the associated sea floor topography measurements using the multi-beam echo sounder were conducted in late January and early February.

"The Riiser-Larsen Sea area is one of the most underexplored areas within the Indian Ocean part of Antarctica. The research conducted by PMGE in the late 1990s enabled to define the deep structure, tectonic framework, and seismic stratigraphy of the sedimentary basin, but some fundamental scientific problems remained unresolved," — Sergey Kozlov, Chief Geologist of the Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences. "The data obtained during the new expedition and up-to-date methods for numerical simulation of sedimentary basins will make it possible to substantially clarify our expectations of the oil-and-gas bearing prospects of the Antarctic Shelf Seas."


The Antarctic Geophysics Crew of PMGE (Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition) has conducted the systematical geological and geographic research since the late 1970s using the Academic Alexander Karpinsky research vessel. The marine operations were mainly performed in the Antarctica Indian Ocean sector, the area of which is more than 4.5 mln km2 to the south of the 60th parallel. Through the research, three large sedimentary basins were identified here, which included continental margins and southern parts of oceanic hollows: the basins of the Riiser-Larsen Sea, Cosmonaut Sea, Cooperation or Sodruzhestvo Sea, Davis Sea, as well as basins of Mowson and d’Urville Seas.

In 2019, under the 64th Russian Antarctic expedition, PMGE has started the comprehensive geophysical research of underexplored areas of the Antarctica Pacific sector between the Amundsen and Ross Seas that confirms the Russia leading position in the international Antarctic community.

The overall length of the comprehensive seismic and gravimagnetic explorations conducted by PMGE within the Antarctic Shelf Seas for all time of explorations is more than 140 000 line km. The potential hydrocarbon resources in the identified sedimentary basins are estimated at approximately 70 billion tons.

Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition JSC (PMGE) is a specialized company involved in the comprehensive geological and geophysical research into the geological structure of subsoils and explorations for minerals in all the most hard-to-reach regions of the Earth: Arctic, Antarctic, and the World Ocean. PMGE has three field bases in Antarctica and a field base in the Svalbard archipelago.

Rosgeo is a Russian multi-industry geological holding company, which offers a full range of geological exploration services: from regional surveys to stratigraphic drilling and subsoil monitoring. The holding company boasts a unique expertise, particularly in marine geology and shelf operations. A total of more than 1,000 fields and deposits have been discovered by the holding’s companies, including major hydrocarbon and solid mineral deposits and fields. Rosgeo is a fully state-owned company.