The Continental Shelf Project

Denmark ratified the international Law of the Sea 16 November 2004 which opens for extended continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile limits providing the state can give geological justifications for the claims.


Within the Faroese area two areas are being considered with respect to extended continental shelf beyond 200 nm off the Faroese Islands,
one area to the southwest (the Hatton-Rockall area) and one area to the northeast (in the Norwegian Sea).


The overall Continental Shelf Project is organized by a central Contact Committee chaired by the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, with Faroese representation from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Directorate of Earth and Energy.  The geotechnical preparation is organized by individual Steering Committees for the Faroese and the Greenlandic areas, respectively.

The Faroese part of the project is performed in close cooperation between the Danish authorities and institutions on the one hand, and the Faroese home rule authorities and local institutions on the other hand.

The Faroese Geological Survay , Jarðfeingi,  (JF), has been given the task of coordinating the Faroese part of the project on behalf of the Faroese Government. JF is chairing the Steering Committee and is coordinating the day to day geotechnical work together with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). Other institutions participating in the project include the Royal Danish Administration of Navigation and Hydrography, the Danish National Survey & Cadastre, the Faroese Fisheries Laboratory and the University of the Faroe Islands.


The geotechnical part of the Continental Shelf Project started in 2003.

Based on an initial tentative work programme, it was decided early in the year to acquire some reflection seismic and bathymetric data in the area north of the Faroe Islands already during the 2003 summer season. Three seismic lines and a number of single beam bathymetry lines were acquired, and the data is now being processed.

A Desktop Study was performed during the summer and autumn where the different tasks of the project were identified and organized. One part of the study included the identification and acquisition of all existing data of relevance to the project. Based on this study a work programme for 2004 has been presented to the Steering Committee, and subject to final approval from the Contact Committee, a number of sub-projects will be performed during next years season.

The 2004 projects include e.g. refraction and reflection seismic acquisition and ocean bottom rock sampling in the south western area. These and other additional studies will be related to the question of natural prolongation and to the establishment of the outer limit of the continental margin both to the southwest and to the northeast of the Faroese landmass.

For further information, please contact:
Martin V. Heinesen, Project Manager
Tel. +298 357002,
e-mail: martin.v.heinesen*

Further information may also be obtained from The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation at

Jarðfeingi acquiring aeromagnetic data in collaboration with the Norwegian Geological Survey, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and four oil companies

From 6th May and approximately 60 days onwards new magnetic data will be obtained from an aeroplane in the offshore area north of the Faroe Islands, including regions both inside and outside the Faroese 200 nm zone, as well as a region inside the Norwegian 200 nm zone, traditionally named the Norwegian Basin.
The survey is conducted from a base at Vágar Airport, but will also utilise airports in Norway.

The survey will constitute 38,400 line kilometres with a line spacing of 5 km in a NW-SE flight direction and tie-line spacing of 20 km in a SW-NE flight direction. The airplane will be flying 700 ft (ca 213 m) above sea level and the magnetic instrument will be hanging below the aeroplane with a sensor elevation of 450 ft (ca 137 m) above sea level.


Outline of the joint aeromagnetic survey NB-07, acquired by Jarðfeingi, NGU, NPD and four oil companies
The purpose of the survey is primarily to acquire an aeromagnetic data set in an area where no or only sparse magnetic data is available. With this acquisition we will

  • get a better understanding of the location of the continent-ocean boundary
  • get a more precise map of the main magnetic anomalies in the area
  • test the validity of assumed structural and magmatic features
  • provide an updated tectonic model for the area.

The new data set will be merged with existing magnetic and seismic data sets in and around the survey area to give an updated understanding of the structural and magmatic evolution of the Northeast Atlantic margin.