About the National Geological Repository

Aerial photo of BGS Keyworth P801838

The National Geological Repository (NGR) is a national science facility and an integral part of the British Geological Survey (Natural Environment Research Council) located at the survey’s headquarters in Nottinghamshire. Its unique collections of borehole cores, cuttings, samples, specimens, and related subsurface information from the UK landmass and continental shelf are used extensively by industry, in research, and to support university teaching. The NGR has the UK’s largest core storage and examination facility. Its centrepiece are the core stores and records collections.

National Geological Repository collections:

  • Over 250 km of cores, samples and cuttings from over 15 000 boreholes, including collections from 'landward' hydrocarbon wells held on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/Oil and Gas Authority
  • Over 350 km of drill-core and 4.5 million samples of cuttings from approximately 8000 wells comprising the UK Continental Shelf offshore hydrocarbon collection, held on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/Oil and Gas Authority and deposited with the NGR under PON9
  • Offshore sea-bed sediment and core samples from the UK continental shelf and elsewhere, including vibrocore samples, grab samples and gravity cores.
  • The UK’s foremost biostratigraphical collections of over three million specimens
  • The major British collection of rocks and thin sections
  • Geochemistry collections comprising a variety of materials, mostly held as processed soil and stream sediment samples, collected primarily for geochemical analysis.
  • Unique collections of geological records
  • The British Antarctic Survey’s rock and fossil collections from Antarctica and the southern Atlantic.
  • Limited subsampling is allowed, and the data, prepared samples, residues, reports and papers must be lodged with the NGR. The raw data is freely available two years after sampling.
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Supporting Government legislation

Alethopteris lonchitica

The NGR directly supports Government, its departments and agencies, in the implementation of legislation, regulation and codes of practice relating to subsurface data acquired by private operators during groundwater and mineral (including oil and gas) exploration.

Legislation requires parties that drill certain types of wells to deposit specific records and samples with the British Geological Survey; the legislation includes:

  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy / Oil and Gas Authority; Petroleum Operations Notices (PON9)
  • Mining Industry Act 1926
  • Water Resources Act 1991
  • Water (Scotland) Act 1946

These materials are all housed and managed in the National Geological Repository.

The British Standard 5930 (Site Investigation) and the Health and Safety Executive's 'Approved Code of Practice on the Prevention of Inrushes in Mines' both reference key NGR collections as an essential source for due diligence information during desk studies.

BGS Corporate Collections Advisory Committee

A small committee of curators, drawn from national and university museums, monitors progress with the Collections, reviews the Curatorial Policies and Collections Management Procedures, and advises on future work. It is also the ultimate authority in complex accession and de-accession matters. Committee membership is honorary and normally for a period of three years, with two meetings per year.

The Chief Curator (Dr M P A Howe) would like to hear from any suitably qualified individuals interested in serving on the committee in the future.

What do our users say?

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The BGS/DECC Core Collection is a unique and irreplaceable collection... Significantly, this resource is the only collection of core material from UK Hydrocarbon wells that is curated and actively managed... As geological science is dynamically evolving, the value of the collection will continue to grow. The collection provides a means of testing new geological concepts and the material for extracting new scientific information by, as yet, undeveloped methodologies.
Dr Andrew P Sims, Merlin Energy Resources Ltd

The BGS collections represent a unique, invaluable and utterly irreplaceable source of material for both teaching and research. It continues to yield material of extraordinary scientific value. For instance, scientists at Leicester, Cambridge and the BGS have just published jointly on a remarkable fossil specimen discovered in the collections that provides a spectacular example of early biological 'division of labour'.
Dr Jan Zalasiewicz, University of Leicester

'The core store has been an invaluable resource to the MSc in Applied Petroleum Geoscience at the University of Derby. For subsurface study, core represents reality but a very different one that few students have worked with before. At BGS, our students are able to view a range of rock types in this medium and to log petroleum-bearing core directly related to our taught modules. In addition, a number of our MSc projects have involved logging the reservoir in a small number of cored wells to ground truth wireline data for those wells. Students then produce a reservoir model for a larger number of wells in a hydrocarbon field. This has improved understanding of reservoir modelling and increased the quality of models and resulting student reports.
Dr Dorothy Satterfield, Applied Petroleum Geoscience, University of Derby


National Geological Repository
British Geological Survey
Environmental Science Centre
NG12 5GG

Email: enquiries@bgs.ac.uk
Tel: 0115 936 3100
Fax: 0115 936 3200

The National Geological Repository is situated on the British Geological Survey's Environmental Science Centre at Keyworth, approximately five miles south-east of Nottingham city centre. How to get to BGS Keyworth.

We are extremely interested to find new ways through which the NGR collections can be used to better support industry, academic research and teaching.