Onshore Carboniferous Basins Consortium

The British Geological Survey has formed a research consortium to improve knowledge of the geology of the mid-Carboniferous rocks under northern England. This research will develop a better understanding of the distribution and natural variability of rocks in onshore Carboniferous basins, and their properties. Interest in the argillaceous rocks of the mid-Carboniferous in northern England has been building over the past decade as some of the rocks have been recognised as potential sources for unconventional oil and gas. This work aims to address the current uncertainty regarding the influence on hydrocarbon prospectivity of primary depositional and secondary diagenetic controls, and rock behaviour at current in-situ conditions. The Onshore Carboniferous Basins consortium will focus on the following main themes, supported by the BGSs world-class laboratory facilities.

  • basin development and burial histories
  • characterising the depositional and geochemical signatures of key stratigraphic horizons
  • assessing the hydromechanical behaviour of some of the rocks

Sponsors in the consortium include exploration and production divisions of Total, Centrica and ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez), and also the UK Government's Department of Energy and Climate Change. The consortium is scheduled to run for 3 years.

Total logo
Centrica logo
ENGIE logo
DECC logo


Contact Ed Hough for more information.