Oxford announces Shell support for energy research | University of Oxford

Oxford announces Shell support for energy research

Oxford University has announced that Shell International Exploration and Production B.V. (Shell) has contributed a £5.9m boost to research into natural energy resources at the University’s Department of Earth Sciences through support for a new research collaboration and state-of-the-art laboratory.

This Shell-Oxford Research Partnership is designed to support more effective development of natural resources to meet fast-growing global demand for energy. It will also provide insights into the sequestration of greenhouse gases, which will be critical to the successful development of carbon capture and storage technology both in the UK and globally.

The research programme will build on Oxford's world leading expertise in geochemistry and will address fundamental challenges relating to the physical and chemical characterisation and origins of mudrocks. These sediments are important as source rocks for conventional hydrocarbons, as reservoirs for unconventional hydrocarbons, and as seals for the geological storage of carbon dioxide.

The new collaboration also underpins the establishment of the Shell Geoscience Laboratory at Oxford where researchers will develop novel techniques for the interpretation of huge geophysical and geochemical databases that are now available to analyse the geological processes that shape sedimentary basins around the world.

This new initiative in natural energy resources, with support from Shell and other partners, will offer opportunities for graduates interested in working in this expanding area through the development of a structured programme of postgraduate training.

'This new Oxford collaboration with Shell is a huge boost for fundamental geoscience research in the UK,' said Professor Joe Cartwright, who leads the new Shell Geoscience Laboratory. 'We see this as an opportunity to shape the direction of the subject and create a centre of expertise that will attract interest from all over the world. Understanding the complex processes at work in sedimentary basins is vital to meeting our future energy needs and could also help in mitigating the impact of climate change.'

'Shell is pleased to be entering into this collaboration with Oxford’s Earth Sciences department,' said Alison Goligher, EVP Unconventionals at Shell International Exploration and Production B.V. 'As the world's demand for energy grows, energy systems need to continue to meet this demand and also become cleaner and more efficient. Shell invests significant resources into research and development, both through our own work and through partnerships like this. It's important that companies like Shell make meaningful contributions to understand how our natural resources can continue to be safely and responsibly developed. We are delighted to be working with a world leading university, supporting students at the cutting edge of research.' 

Image: The Shell-Oxford RP in action, exploring the Jurassic coast [L-R]: Joe Cartwright, Qingfeng Meng (a graduate student at Oxford funded by the Shell partnership), Bruce Levell (VP Emerging Technologies and Chief Scientist Geology at Shell), Steve Hesselbo, Jon Wells (Geological technician funded by the Shell partnership).