EGIS Secures Grant from OGA to Assist with North Sea Exploration

The UK’s Heriot-Watt School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society (EGIS) has secured a $359,000 (GBP 250,000) grant award from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), a new UK Government regulatory body overseeing oil and gas activities on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), that was set up last year.

The grant will support research evaluating the geological structure and hydrocarbon prospectivity of the western platform and Mid North Sea High areas of the central North Sea. Demonstrating the UK Government’s commitment towards a long-term investment in UK academic skills in energy-related disciplines, according to EGIS, this is the first such award made by the new regulatory body.

OGA’s grant follows an additional package of measures and UK Government funding announced by the Prime Minister Jan. 28 to further support the UK oil and gas industry and boost future exploration in the North Sea during the current downturn affecting the sector.

Heriot-Watt’s Professor of Exploration Geoscience, Professor John Underhill, said in an organization statement:

“I am delighted that the UK Government is demonstrating its support for and strong commitment to teaching and research in Applied Geoscience by awarding us this grant worth GBP 250,000. It will support a two year full-time Post-doctoral research position which will undertake a Mid North Sea High study as part of OGA’s inaugural ‘Frontier Basins’ research initiative. 

“I have since learnt that the award was won in the face of stiff competition as there were a total of eight bids involving ten universities. The award was also aided and facilitated by our recent successful bid to house the Oil and Gas Authority’s 3D Visualization Suite in the Lyell Centre at the Edinburgh campus. The state of the art equipment will help better interpret complex geological and engineering data and the open access facility will support the dissemination of data and analytical tools to academia and industry alike. It will be named after our illustrious alumna, Dame May Ogilvie-Gordon.”

The two awards mean that OGA has invested almost $1.43 million (GBP 1 million) in Heriot-Watt and the Lyell Centre to date.

OGA’s Head of Exploration and New Ventures, Dr Nick Richardson, said in an OGA release:

“The post-doctoral research projects will be run and overseen by globally-recognized technical experts, and the Heriot-Watt team, led by Professor Underhill, is ideally-placed to improve the fundamental geological understanding of the Mid North Sea Area and help stimulate vital exploration activity. The level of competition for the awards underlines the strength of energy and geoscience research at Heriot-Watt, and the OGA look forward to working together collaboratively on this project over the next two years.”


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