School of Natural and Environmental Sciences



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. This includes work on:

  • shale gas
  • oil shale
  • crude oil
  • pore pressure
  • carbonate reservoirs
  • petroleum microbiology
  • asphaltene aggregation
  • 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 carbon dioxide in both soils and geological repositories. We are closely involved in the exploration for geothermal energy sources.

Our 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.