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EGIS wins £250K award from the UK’s new oil and gas regulator

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Oilfield Technology,

Heriot-Watt’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society is benefitting from the award of a £250 000 grant from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), the new UK Government regulatory body overseeing oil and gas activities on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), which was set up last year to rejuvenate the North Sea. The funding follows an additional package of measures and UK Government funding announced by the Prime Minister on 28th January to further support the UK oil and gas industry and boost future exploration in the North Sea during the current downturn affecting the sector.

The grant will support research evaluating the geological structure and hydrocarbon prospectivity of the western platform and Mid North Sea High areas of the central North Sea. It demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment towards a long-term investment in UK academic skills in energy-related disciplines and is the first such award made by the new regulatory body.

Professor John Underhill, Heriot-Watt’s Professor of Exploration Geoscience said:

“I am delighted that the UK Government is demonstrating its support for and strong commitment to teaching and research in Applied Geoscience by awarding us this grant worth £250 000. It will support a two year full-time Post-doctoral research position which will undertake a Mid North Sea High study as part of OGA’s inaugural ‘Frontier Basins’ research initiative.

“I have since learnt that the award was won in the face of stiff competition as there were a total of eight bids involving ten universities. The award was also aided and facilitated by our recent successful bid to house the Oil and Gas Authority’s 3D Visualisation Suite in the Lyell Centre at the Edinburgh campus. The state of the art equipment will help better interpret complex geological and engineering data and the open access facility will support the dissemination of data and analytical tools to academia and industry alike. It will be named after our illustrious alumna, Dame May Ogilvie-Gordon.”

The two awards mean that OGA has invested almost £1 Million in Heriot-Watt and the Lyell Centre to date.

Dr Nick Richardson, OGA’s Head of Exploration and New Ventures said:

“The post-doctoral research projects will be run and overseen by globally-recognised technical experts, and the Heriot-Watt team, led by Professor Underhill, is ideally-placed to improve the fundamental geological understanding of the Mid North Sea Area and help stimulate vital exploration activity. The level of competition for the awards underlines the strength of energy and geoscience research at Heriot-Watt, and the OGA look forward to working together collaboratively on this project over the next two years.”

Heriot-Watt’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Richard A. Williams, OBE, commented: “Attracting funding from this new source is a positive endorsement of the high academic standards Heriot-Watt University is known for.”

For more information or details of other awards, visit

Adapted from a press release by Louise Mulhall

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