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Department of Earth Sciences

Staff and Postgraduate Students

Prof Andrew Aplin

Head of Department, Chair of the Board of Studies, Professor of Unconventional Petroleum, Director of CeREES in the Department of Earth Sciences

Contact Prof Andrew Aplin


2016-2020; “Academic Master”, Project of Subject Innovation and Talents Attraction in Higher Education (111 Project), China University of Petroleum, Qingdao

2014 – present — Director, Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems

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2013 – present — Professor of Unconventional Petroleum, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Durham

1990 – 2013 — Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Professor of Petroleum Geoscience, Newcastle University

2007 – 2008 — Advisor, Overburden Characterisation, BP (part time)

2001 – present — Honorary Professor, Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot Watt University

1997 – 1999, 2001 – 2002 — Director, Dept. of Fossil Fuels and Environmental Geochemistry, Newcastle University, UK

1994 — Visiting Professor, École Normale Superieure, Paris, France

1984 – 1990 — Inorganic Geochemist, British Petroleum Research Centre

1983 – 1984 — Royal Society European Exchange Fellow, CRPG, Nancy, France.

1983 — Ph.D. Marine Geochemistry, Imperial College, London

1978 — B.Sc. Environmental Science, University of East Anglia

Career Research Highlights

I am a primarily a petroleum geoscientist with a particular interest in shales and mudstones. After PhD and postdoctoral research in marine and isotope geochemistry, I spent several years with BP and many at Newcastle University, before joining the department in 2013. With students and RAs, I have worked on many problems linked to the physical and chemical properties of fine-grained sediments, including seals to petroleum reservoirs and CO2 storage sites, leakage, gas shales, and pore pressure estimation. Aiming to apply high quality science to help answer industrially and societally important questions, much of my work has an industrial context and involves collaboration with a diverse range of earth and other physical scientists. I have been involved with and led several, major Joint Industry Projects, have published over 70 peer-reviewed papers and was awarded the Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award for Best Paper in AAPG Bulletin in both 2009 and 2013.

Committee and Society Service

2009 - 2010; Panel Member, United Arab Emirates National Research Foundation

2005-present; Member, Petromaks Review Committee, Research Council of Norway

Conferences and Workshops

2017; Unconventional Hydrocarbons Theme: Co-convenor, AAPG ICE, London

2014; Organising Committee: SPE Conference on Exploration and Development of Shale and Shale-Associated Reservoirs, Vienna

2013; Organising Committee: EAGE/SEG Research Workshop Geology/Rock Physics Control on Seismic VTI/TTI Model Building, with Particular Focus on Shale, Paris

2013; Geochemistry of Energy Theme: Co-convenor, Goldschmidt: Geochemical Society

2012; Geochemistry of Energy Theme: Co-convenor, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers

2012; Organizing committee: Conference on Deep-Water Continental Margins: The final exploration frontier, The Geological Society of London

2008: Co-convenor; EAGE Research Workshop on Shale

2009: Co-convenor; SPE-AAPG-SEG Pore Pressure Workshop

2009; 2012: Co-convenor; EAGE Fault and Top Seal Research Workshop

2010: Convenor; EAGE Research Workshop on Shale

Editorial Roles

2008 - 2017; Associate Editor, Marine Petroleum Geology

2010 - 2017; Associate Editor, Petroleum Geoscience

Invited Keynotes

2018; Houston Geological Society, USA

2015; LowPerm2015, Rueil Malmaison

2015; Euroclay2015, Edinburgh

2015; Petroleum Geology of NW Europe, London

2015; Geomechanical and Petrophysical Properties of Mudrocks, London

2014; North Africa Oil and Gas Summit

2014; ECSSR 20th Annual Energy Conference: Future Energy Trends: Innovation, Markets, and Geopolitics, Abu Dhabi

2014; “The Environmental Challenges of the Mexican Energy Reform”, CentroMarioMolina, Mexico City

2014; Shale UK 2014, London

2014; Fourth EAGE Shale Workshop, Porto

2013; British Sedimentological Research Group Annual Meeting, Hull

2013; Society of Exploration Geophysicists D&P Forum, Integrated Geophysics for Unconventional Resources, Krakow

2012; Statoil Research Summit, Trondheim

2012; Bulgarian Energy Forum and commentator, Bulgarian Parliamentary Energy Committee, Sofia

2012; Gordon Conference on Organic Geochemistry

2012; UK Shale Summit, London

2012; ENI G&G Well Operations Technology Transfer Workshop, Milan

2012; IGEM European Shale Gas Conference, Durham

2012; "Shale Petrophysics", Statoil Shale Petrophysics Workshop

2012; "Shale Gas in Europe: Some Key Research Challenges", IGEM European Shale Gas Conference

2011; "Source rocks; Character, Prediction and value, The Geological Society of London

Membership of Organizations and Societies

2003 - 2017; Member, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers

2006 - ongoing; Member, American Association of Petroleum Geologists

Prizes and Awards

2013; Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award for Best Paper in AAPG Bulletin 2011, American Association of Petroleum Geologists

2009; Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award for Best Paper in AAPG Bulletin 2007, American Association of Petroleum Geologists

Recent and Current Grants

2015-2019; Quantifying Controls of Pore Systems in Carbonate-rich Shales, £20k, Shell

2015-2016; Relationships between observed hydrocarbon column heights and seal capacity, £50k, Woodside

2012-2016; Multi-scale Characterisation of the Bakken Formation, £100k, Statoil

2012 - 2016; GeoPOP Phase 3, £550k, funded by Industry

2010 - 2013; Caprocks Phase 3; £1.1 million; with Leeds, Cardiff and Heriot-Watt Universities, funded by Industry

2009 - 2012; GASH (Shale Gas Europe), funded by Industry

2008 - 2011; Shale Gas Canada; with Calgary University, funded by Industry

2008 - 2011; CASE Studentship: Origin of ultra-high pore pressure, funded by NERC and Shell

2007 - 2010; Quartz Cementation, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and BP

2006 - 2009; Caprocks: Phase 2; with Heriot-Watt and Cardiff Universities, funded by a consortium of 6 Oil Majors

2005 - 2008; Ph.D. Studentship; Non-mechanical compaction of mudstones, funded by NERC and BP

2005 - 2008; NERC in-kind Grant: "Toward process-based design of passive systems for treatment of acidic mine and spoil heap drainage". Co -PI with Adam Jarvis

2006 - 2008; Caprocks: Phase 2, funded by a consortium of 6 Oil Majors

2004 - 2007; NERC Standard Grant: UK Carbon Capture and Storage Consortium

2002 - 2005; Caprocks: Phase 1. With Heriot-Watt and Cardiff Universities, funded by a consortium of 8 Oil Majors

Research Interests

My interests are mainly rooted in petroleum geoscience, although I also have a background in environmental geochemistry. My work focusses especially on fine-grained sediments, including seals to petroleum reservoir and CO2 storage sites, gas/oil shales, fluid flow including leakage and migration.

Research Groups

Department of Earth Sciences


Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Aplin, A.C. & Moore, J.K.S. (2016). Observations of pore systems of natural siliciclastic mudstones. In Filling the Gaps - From Microscopic Pore Structures to Transport Properties in Shales. Schäfer, Thorsten, Dohrmann, Reiner & Greenwell, H.C. Clay Minerals Society. 21: 33-44.
  • Bernard, S., Wirth, R., Schreiber, A., Bowen, L., Aplin, A.C., Mathia, E.J., Schulz, H. -M. & Horsfield, B. (2013). FIB-SEM and TEM investigations of an organic-rich shale maturation series (Lower Toarcian Posidonia Shale): Nanoscale pore system and fluid-rock interactions. In Electron microscopy of shale hydrocarbon reservoirs. Camp, W., Diaz, E. & Wawak, B. AAPG. 102: 53-66.

Journal Article

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