Shell and Heriot-Watt announce new Exploration Geoscience Research Centre

Professor John Underhill

A new Shell Centre for Exploration Geoscience is to be established jointly by Shell International Exploration and Production B.V. (Shell) and Heriot-Watt University at the Edinburgh Campus. The Centre, headed by Professor John Underhill, a renowned geoscientist, represents a £3 million investment by Shell over a five-year period.

Based within the University's highly regarded Institute of Petroleum Engineering, the Centre will establish a seismic interpretation and exploration geoscience research group. Researchers will deploy the latest technologies, data, and industry insights to further understanding of some of the world's major petroleum systems, including the UK Continental Shelf.

Professor Underhill, holder of the Shell Chair of Exploration Geoscience, will lead a group consisting of sponsored post-doctoral, PhD and Masters (MRes) students.

Professor Underhill said, "Taken together, Shell's significant investment and Heriot-Watt University's commitment to applied academic research activity provide a tremendous opportunity to undertake new, novel and fundamental geoscientific research at the Centre. The results will help further our understanding of the development, evolution and deformation of sedimentary basins and complement existing strengths within the Institute of Petroleum Engineering."

Ceri Powell, Executive Vice President, Shell Exploration, said, "Shell is pleased to partner with Heriot-Watt University. Innovation through active partnerships is at the core of Shell's approach to research and technology development. This collaboration highlights our commitment to facilitate world-class research at leading universities in subjects of importance in meeting the world's growing energy demand."

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said, "The introduction of this Centre further strengthens our world-leading Institute of Petroleum Engineering. Our partnership with Shell will allow us to build upon industry-relevant research in this key area of hydrocarbon exploration and production."

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing, said, "Shell and Heriot Watt University are demonstrating themselves as key players in the technology and engineering sector through their commitment to research into geoscience. Scotland has been a world leader in research and innovation and this investment over the next five years by Shell will help secure Scotland's place in the future. This is an exciting new collaboration between private sector and Higher Education to work together to provide solutions to demand-led science and engineering research by supporting innovation for future growth, and follows on from recent announcements of similar business/academia collaboration through our Innovation Centre programme."

The new Centre will start recruiting its first intake of post-graduate students within the next month.