Icelandic funding to research hydrocarbon resources



The largest ever oil and gas grant from the Icelandic Hydrocarbon Research Fund has been made to Heriot-Watt academics to research offshore Icelandic geology and its potential for oil and gas production.

The research activity is sure to throw new light on the development and evolution of the North Atlantic.
Professor John Underhill

The two year project will use new and existing offshore seismic data to assess the oil and gas production potential of the area as well as extending the academic understanding of its geology and of the evolution of the North Atlantic.

The research, to be led by Heriot-Watt's Professor John Underhill, Chair of Exploration Geoscience, and Dr Rachel Jamieson of the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS), focusses on the Dreki region. Funding is administered by Iceland's Minister of Industry and Commerce and overseen by the National Energy Authority, Orkustofnun, underlining their commitment to strengthen the development of research and scientific knowledge of hydrocarbon resources on the continental shelf of Iceland.

Heriot-Watt University Principal, Professor Richard A. Williams, said, “Attracting funding from this new source is a positive endorsement of the high academic standards Heriot-Watt University is known for. This is exactly the sort of project for which the University is geared, leading in ideas and solutions to solve the specialist challenges facing society.”

Professor John Underhill said, “I am delighted to receive funding to undertake research on a little known and underexplored part of the North Atlantic. The research activity is sure to throw new light on the development and evolution of the North Atlantic in an area characterised by hyperextended crust.

“The proposal was aided and facilitated by our recent successful bid to house the UK Oil and Gas Authority's 3D Visualisation Suite in the Lyell Centre at the Edinburgh campus.”

Þórarinn Sveinn Arnarson, the Hydrocarbon Exploration Manager at the Icelandic National Energy Authority, said, “I am extremely pleased that the Icelandic Authorities have been able to support this research through the Hydrocarbon Research Fund. The post-doctoral research projects will be run and overseen by globally-recognised technical experts, and the Heriot-Watt team, led by Professor Underhill, is ideally-placed to further the fundamental geological understanding of the Dreki region and help stimulate vital exploration activity. 

"The award highlights the strength of Energy and Geoscience research in the Centre for Exploration Geoscience at Heriot-Watt and we are looking forward to working together collaboratively on this project over the next two years.”