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Unconventional Hydrocarbons

About Unconventional Hydrocarbons

  • Unconventional hydrocarbons are sources of oil and gas which require methods for extraction which are not normally necessary in the conventional extraction of hydrocarbons.
  • Sources of unconventional oil and gas include: Shale gas, shale oil, tight sands, clathrates (gas hydrates), coal bed methane (CBM).
  • Extraction methods include "unconventional" techniques. In shale gas these techniques are a combination of commonly used conventional methods: Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracing / fracking).


At Durham we have interests in many areas of unconventional hydrocarbon research, with a wide range of expertise from staff and PhD students. Durham currently has projects looking into aspects of: shale gas, shale oil, gas hydrates and coal. These projects span many academic departments including: earth sciences, chemistry, engineering, geography, and social sciences. With regular meetings, the unconventionals group creates an opportunity for staff and students who have research and interest in the area of unconventionals to combine expertise and discuss topics with a wider interdisciplinary audience.


The Durham Unconventionals group has links and shares members with the DEI (Durham Energy Institute) and CeREES (Centre for Research into Earth and Energy Systems).