OR/16/020 Summary

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Loveless, S, and Smith, N. 2016. Summary of potential oil and gas formations in England for use in groundwater vulnerability assessments. British Geological Survey Internal Report, OR/16/020.

The joint Environment Agency (EA) and BGS project ‘3D Groundwater Vulnerability’ (3D GWV) will develop a methodology for attributing vulnerability of groundwater to pollution from sub-surface oil and gas exploration and production activities, including unconventional, conventional and hybrid plays. It will also take account of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) exploration, in addition to both near surface and deeper aquifers and groundwater. Outputs will include descriptions and visual representations of potential sources of sub-surface contamination of groundwater from different sources of hydrocarbons. These outputs are designed for use by the EA, Defra, other government departments, local planning authorities, environmental consultants and the public. The project will involve creating an attributed version of UK3D for England with source rock formations and aquifers identified.

This report describes the hydrocarbon bearing units in England. The units have been identified primarily from three BGS reports commissioned by DECC (the Department for Energy and Climate Change) in 2013 (DECC, 2013a[1]; 2013b[2]; 2013c[3]) and three additional area-specific reports on shale gas prospectivity in the Bowland Shale (Andrews, 2013[4]), the Weald (Andrews, 2014[5]) and the Wessex area (Greenhalgh, 2016[6]). Note that this report is not intended to be an exhaustive summary of the occurrence of hydrocarbon units in England, rather a high-level overview for hydrogeologists interested in the potential for groundwater contamination. If further detailed information is required about the hydrocarbon characteristics of the units the reader should refer to the source documents (and references therein). The source documents identify units that have potential as conventional oil and gas reservoirs and source rocks (DECC, 2013a[1]), for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) (DECC, 2013b[2]) and shale gas (DECC, 2013c[3]). There is no similar report for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) and therefore coal units have been identified from (DECC, 2013b[2]).

This report gives a summary of the potential hydrocarbon resource types; identifies or attributes specific hydrocarbon source rocks on the Generalised Vertical Section (GVS), which identifies the main geologic units for England from BGS’ National Geological Model (NGM) (UK3D v2015[7] and Waters et al., 2016[8]); and, summarises features of each of the units in the context of the 3D GWV project.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 DECC, 2013A. The hydrocarbon prospectivity of Britain’s onshore basins — shale gas. (Department for Energy and Climate Change: London).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 DECC, 2013B. The unconventional hydrocarbon resources of Britain’s onshore basins — coalbed methane. (Department for Energy and Climate Change: London).
  3. 3.0 3.1 DECC, 2013C. The unconventional hydrocarbon resources of Britain’s onshore basins — shale gas. (Department for Energy and Climate Change: London).
  4. ANDREWS, 2013a. The Carboniferous Bowland Shale gas study: geology and resource estimation. (Department for Energy and Climate Change: London).
  5. ANDREWS, I J. 2014a. The Jurassic shales of the Weald Basin: geology and shale oil and shale gas resource estimation. (Department for Energy and Climate Change: London).
  6. GREENHALGH, E. 2016. The Jurassic shales of the Wessex area: geology and shale oil and shale gas resource estimation. (Department for Energy and Climate Change: London).
  7. UK 3D v2015. UK 3D — 3D geological model for the United Kingdom (online). Available: www.bgs.ac.uk/research/ukgeology/nationalGeologicalModel/GB3D.html. Last Accessed 24 May 2016.
  8. WATERS, C N, TERRINGTON, R L, COOPER, M R, RAINE, R J, THORPE, S. 2016. The construction of a bedrock geology model for the UK: UK3D_v2015. British Geological Survey. Keyworth, Nottingham. OR/15/069.