Newcastle has a long and impressive track record in geoenergy research, with a history spanning coal and petroleum through to unconventional geoenergy, geothermal energy and carbon storage. We are now a multidisciplinary group comprising geoscientists, organic and inorganic geochemists, microbial ecologists, sedimentologists, and geomechanical modellers.

Our research reflects a balance between fossil fuels as a critical energy resource and the move towards a lower carbon global economy. We integrate geological, geophysical, geochemical and microbiological studies on both conventional and unconventional petroleum systems, including work on shale gas, oil shale, crude oil, pore pressure, carbonate reservoirs, petroleum microbiology, asphaltene aggregation and the biological upgrading of crude oil to natural gas. Many of our projects are in cooperation with international government funding bodies or industry partners from South America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa. Our regional geothermal research uses the geochemistry of highly saline groundwaters to indicate prospects for drilling, leading to two deep boreholes (1 km and 1.8 km) generating results to inform commercial activity.

We also focus on the retention of CO2 in both soils and geological repositories and are closely involved in the exploration for geothermal energy sources. The research is underpinned by excellent technical staff, and laboratory- and computer-based research facilities including the new Wolfson Northern Carbon Reduction Laboratory. Our work on mineral resource requirements for renewable energy (critical minerals) investigates global fluxes of commodities, and innovative ways of modelling these.

Current Projects

  • Deepbioengineering: geomicrobiology for exploration and production - EPSRC
  • Biology of the onset of reservoir souring - ExxonMobil
  • Oilspore: hydrocarbon degradation by spore-forming bacteria - NERC
  • Structure and Function of Asphaltenes - Delta State Government (Nigeria)
  • Organic geochemical applications in petroleum systems studies - PTDF, Libyan Petroleum Institute
  • Carboxylic acids and acidity in crude oils - Oil Industry Consortium, Malaysian Government
  • Reconstruction of environmental controls on oil shale formation in Jordan: a paired organic and inorganic geochemical approach - Shell/JOSCO
  • Sedimentological and geochemical characterization of organic carbon rich Cretaceous strata and their palaeo-environment, Colombia - Ecopetrol
  • Jurassic shale analogue study: from resource to reserve (JARR) - NERC
  • Engineering soils for climate change - EPSRC/NERC
  • LAYERS of material flow - NERC
  • Academic Staff