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Durham University

Unconventional Hydrocarbons

Staff Profiles

Dr Chris Greenwell


Chris Greenwell is a chemist by training, studying for a first degree in marine chemistry (Bangor, Wales) and a PhD in organic - layered mineral chemistry at Cambridge University.  Chris worked as a theoretical chemist at University College London before running a successful industry liaison group at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor.  In 2007 Chris was elected the Addison Wheeler Fellow at Durham University before becoming a lecturer in Geoenergy. 

Research Interests

Chris's research group undertakes research into understanding how organic molecules interact with layered minerals.  The group is renowned for developing novel experimental and simulation studies for understanding these interactions under as naturalistic conditions as possible, including techniques using flow reactors, wet cell-X ray diffraction and neutron scattering.

Dr Jonny Imber


Jonny Imber is a structural geologist who completed his degree and PhD at Durham University. He was then a research assistant at Liverpool University and a research fellow with the Fault Analysis Group, University College Dublin, where he worked on field studies, seismic analysis and numerical models of fault and fracture growth. He took up his post as Statoil Lecturer in Petroleum Structural Geology at Durham in 2005.

Research Interests

Jonny is interested in fault and fracture evolution at basin to outcrop scales. He is currently using ground-based LiDAR (laser scanning) techniques to test the unproven, but commonly stated assertion that fractures initiate parallel to lines of no finite elongation. 

Dr Howard Armstrong


Howard is a micropalaeontologist and biostratigrapher by training. He obtained a first degree in geology from Sheffield before MSc. and doctoral research in Palaeozoic palynology and micropalaeontology. He is a "grey beard" at Durham with wide interests in earth surface systems. 

Research Interests

Howard is interested in understanding high organic productivity depositional systems during extreme climate events. Current research focuses on the geological record of tropical climate systems.  HAA has a published track record on the origin of Palaeozoic black shale and climate dynamics. He has worked on Palaeozoic basins in Europe, South Africa, North Greenland and North Africa; and on industry funded regional petroleum-linked problems.

Prof Jon Gluyas


Jon Gluyas is a geologist by training, studying for a first degree in geology (Sheffield) and a PhD in sediment geochemistry at the University of Liverpool.  Jon worked as in the oil industry for 28 years before returning in 2009 to academia and to Durham University.  He is now responsible for research in geoenergy as well as carbon capture and storage.  Winner of the Geological Society's Aberconwy Medal in 2000 for excellence in applied geology he has a strong publication record which includes the best selling text book Petroleum Geoscience (2003). 

Research Interests

Jon's research interest is in fluid rock interactions atypical pressures and temperatures in sedimentary basins and their impact on fossil fuel and geothermal resources.

Prof Richard Davies


BSc (Reading University), 1990;
PhD (Edinburgh) 1995
Posts Held:

2010-Present Professor of Energy and Director of Durham Energy Institute 
2008-2009 Acting Director of Durham Energy Institute
2006-2009 Professor and Director of the Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems (CeREES)
2003-2006 Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University, UK.
2001-2003 Senior Exploration Geologist, ExxonMobil - Houston, USA
1999-2002 Senior Exploration Geologist, ExxonMobil, London, UK
1995-1999 Geologist, Mobil, Aberdeen and London, UK.
1994-1995 Consultant Sedimentology Field Geologist, Venezuela
1986-1987 Trainee Mining Engineer, Anglo American, South Africa.

Research Interests

Richard Davies has spear headed the use of 3D seismic reflection data and visualisation in geoscience research, through publishing papers in highly regarded journals on a range of subjects as diverse as soft sediment deformation, igneous intrusions, silica diagenesis, continent-ocean fracture zones, petroleum geology and mud volcanism.

Mr Leon Bowen

Leon Bowen - Shale Microscopy Techniques


Leon Bowen is an advanced Electron Microscopist with a vast set of technical manipulation skills. Highly experienced in materials characterisation techniques supporting all areas of scientific disciplines (Chemistry, Physics, Materials, Biology, Engineering and Earth Sciences). Sub-areas include research, failure analysis, materials characterisation, development, training and consulting activities.

An associated application technique specialist covering high technological products, such as FIB (Focused Ion Beam) INCA Energy, INCA WAVE, CL, EBIC (Electron Beam Induced Current), EDAX Genesis and Oxford Instruments ISIS  microanalysis systems.

Leon Bowen is a materials scientist  through training and studying for a first degree in Forensic Engineering and a MBA in Industrial Management (Sheffield Hallam) where his final dissertation covered "Knowledge as sustainable competitive advantage for electron microscopy". Leon is a technological specialist who applies a broad knowledge of microscopy techniques to academic research. Leon had previously worked for the Materials and Engineering research institute at Sheffield Hallam and had further developed his technical skills through working at Oxford Instruments Microanalysis Ltd.

Research Interests

Leon is involved in all area's of scientific disciplines for research. Both internally and externally covering specialised work for the British home office, Agar Allen rail steels, Solar cells projects, Shale Gas projects, Fault Zones projects, Triassic fluvial reservoirs, nano wire characterisations and high level SEM quantification projects as well as providing high level user training in microscopy and related techniques.

Dr Simon Mathias


2009-Date  Lecturer in Computational Geoscience, Durham University.

2007-2009 WorleyParsons Lecturer of Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London.

2003-2007 Research Fellow, Imperial College London.

2001-2005 PhD in Hydrology, Imperial College London.

2000-2003 Civil Engineer, Royal Haskoning.

1999-2000 MSc in Water Resources Technology and Management, University of Birmingham.

1995-1999 MEng in Civil Engineering, University College London

Research Interests

His principal expertise lies in the development of mathematical models to describe flow and transport of reactive contaminants in porous and fractured porous media. Simon has worked on a broad range of applications including vadose zone transport of nutrients in fractured rock systems, plant uptake of radionuclides, aquifer characterisation studies, buoyancy driven flow problems, in situ chemical oxidation, CO2 geo-sequestration and hydraulic fracture propagation.

Dr Liam Herringshaw


Liam is a palaeontologist, with a B.Sc. (Geology & Physical Geography) from the University of Liverpool and a Ph.D. (Palaeobiology) from the University of Birmingham.  Prior to working at Durham, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the MUN Ichnology Group at Memorial University of Newfoundland (  He has also worked in the Department of Geology & Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen, and the Lapworth Museum of Geology, Birmingham.

Research interests

Liam's main research interests are on the impact of trace fossils on sedimentary environments, biotic responses to major environmental change, and the evolution of marine ecosystems.   He is working as a postdoctoral research assistant at Durham, studying the biogenic controls of variability in shale gas intervals.  The impact of bioturbating organisms on sediment permeability and porosity can be very significant, so analysing the lateral and temporal variability of burrow networks is critical to understanding their impact upon petroleum systems.