A sound reputation has been established within the oil and gas industry for the delivery of quality, focused research, which is reflected by the large number of companies that regularly offer support via joint research council/industry research awards.
There are extensive analytical facilities housed within two laboratories, both recently refurbished, and a thermostatically controlled environment room. Equipment includes:
- A tandem mass spectrometer equipped with gas chromatography and liquid chromatography interfaces
- Gas chromatography (FID and ECD)
- Atomic absorption, infrared and ultraviolet fluorescence spectrophotometry
- Ion chromatography
- A MICROTOX toxicity testing system for the study of offshore and terrestrial discharges
Research is of a truly multi-disciplinary nature and reflects our ongoing interest in understanding and minimising environmental risks associated with oil and gas exploration and production.
For example, projects include:
- Industrial uses for crops, including the development of ‘environmentally friendly’ vegetable oil-based drilling muds
- The development of oil spill fingerprinting for identifying the source of oil slicks
- Toxicity studies of produced water discharges from offshore oil and gas installations
- The measurement of oilfield chemical residues in the marine environment
Over the past 10 years projects have received financial support from a diverse range of sources including EPSRC, NERC, LINK, the European Commission, as well as industry. Several studies have related to the treatment of produced water offshore and avoiding adverse environmental impacts of petroleum developments on the continental margins, such as west of Shetland.
Collaborative ventures are undertaken with other groups/researchers, both within other areas of the University and with external organisations, the most recent example being a collaborative project with the FRS Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen.