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JARR (Jurassic Analogues: Resources to Reserves)

JARR (Jurassic Analogues: Resources to Reserves)









A new academic-industry research partnership examining the Jurassic shales of the UK.

The project aims to connect a multi-disciplinary team of NERC- and industry-funded researchers at Durham and Newcastle universities with industrial geoscientists. JARR will conduct a scoping study of existing datasets from black shales of the Lower and Upper Jurassic of the UK and Northwest Europe, to evaluate their potential for further in-depth research into shale sweet spot characterisation and resource to reserve estimation.


Click Here to be added to the JARR mailing list.


Click Here for an article addressing the recent BGS/DECC report on the shale prospectivity of the Weald Basin, summarizing some of the work JARR is doing.


JARR workshop (March 2014)

(13 March 2014)



In February 2014, the JARR (Jurassic Analogues: Resources to Reserves) project was launched with a workshop at the British Geological Survey. The meeting brought together participants from academia and industry to examine organic-rich mudstones of Jurassic age and discuss the latest conceptual research ideas into basin-scale shale depositional systems and geomechanics, and their implications to better understand sweet spot distribution in shale successions across offshore and onshore UK.

In February 2014, the JARR (Jurassic Analogues: Resources to Reserves) project was launched with a workshop at the British Geological Survey. The meeting brought together participants from academia and industry to examine organic-rich mudstones of Jurassic age and discuss the latest conceptual research ideas into basin-scale shale depositional systems and geomechanics, and their implications to better understand sweet spot distribution in shale successions across offshore and onshore UK.

The workshop began with Dr Howard Armstrong (Durham) introducing JARR and explaining the aims of the project. Howard examined conceptual models of shale gas sweet spots, and emphasized the need to better understand what the essential ingredients of a quality unconventional reservoir are, and what controls them.

Developing this theme, Prof. Tom Wagner (Newcastle) used detailed geochemical datasets from Cretaceous sedimentary rocks in the Atlantic Ocean to explain the importance of palaeoclimate. The atmospheric Hadley Cells, particularly the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) – a prominent atmospheric feature defining the extremely humid, core tropical zone – play a key role in the distribution and composition of marine black shales. Understanding how the dynamic behaviour of the ITCZ over orbital and longer time-scales translates into sedimentological and geochemical heterogeneity of marine shales has profound implications to better understanding and predicting the location of ‘ideal’ organic-rich shale depositional conditions.

Using new data from the Lower Jurassic, Dr Jonny Imber (Durham) then looked at the natural fractures and geomechanics of shales. Of particular importance was the question whether natural fractures occur preferentially in clay-poor shales. With the geomechanical and palaeoclimate models in mind, the group then examined the Kimmeridge Clay oil shales in core. Variability of key parameters (lithology, TOC, clay mineralogy, silt content, fractures) was examined, with the challenge of identifying sweet spots. The core provided an opportunity to test new models of mudstone deposition, and to investigate the possible control of sedimentary facies and mineralogy on “brittleness” and natural fracture development.

Kimmeridge clay core white stone bandAfter the group had examined the core, Liam Herringshaw discussed its lithological and sedimentological variability and the possible interpretations, particularly in light of the Hadley Cell climate model. Jonny Imber then discussed the fracture patterns observed in core, their relationship to lithology, and the potential implications. Howard Armstrong wrapped up the workshop by applying the Hadley Cell model to the Carboniferous, making predictions of how the distribution of organic-rich shales may vary laterally and temporally. It was concluded that the Hadley Cell model has significant implications for understanding the prospectivity of shale gas plays in the UK and Europe.

Over the next few months, JARR will host a series of core and field workshops to further test and apply generic understanding of multi-scale controls on black shale distribution and properties, with the power to be developed as predictive tool for shale sweet spot identification. Field workshops are planned to the Wessex Basin (late April 2014) and Moray Firth (July 2014). Thanks to funding from the NERC Oil and Gas Catalyst grant, there is no charge (beyond travel and subsistence) for industry participation in any of the JARR workshops.

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