This year’s CDT Annual Conference took place on Friday 3 November 2017 at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh's city centre, our first move off-campus in order to accommodate all four annual entry student cohorts and our invited guests as the CDT reaches its full strength.

The conference was opened by Paul Wheelhouse, MSP and Minister for Business, Innovation and Industry and featured key note speeches from Chris Stark, Head of the Energy Directorate for the Scottish Government, Dr Nick Richardson, Head of Exploration and New Ventures at the Oil & Gas Authority, Dr John Clayburn, Head of Exploration and Development at Cairn Energy plc and Professor Iain Stewart from the University of Plymouth.

The NERC CDT in Oil & Gas is delighted to have been included in a major funding package of £416k from Verus Petroleum, an independent oil company active on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS). The award has been made to Professor John Underhill in the the Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE) at Heriot-Watt University to provide direct support for applied geoscience  research and training. The funding will cover frontier basins and UKCS research, support the Ogilvie-Gordon 3D Audio-Visualisation Centre (OGAVC) and include management costs associated with running the NERC CDT in Oil & Gas.  The company will now be represented on the CDT’s Industry Advisory Board with immediate effect.  

On 27th February, 33 PhD students of the third NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas cohort (2016), left their respective HEI’s and gathered together at Heriot Watt University for the first time since attending the NERC CDT Annual Conference and subsequent two week residential Environmental Impact and Regulation Module there in November, to undertake an intensive one week course on Petroleum Systems Analysis. The course, led by Andy Bell (Heriot Watt University Honorary Professor and Shell Lead of Global Geology Research/Manager of Integrated Charge Evaluation and Asset Geochemistry) and Erdem Idiz (Visiting Professor at Oxford University and formerly of Shell E&P), covered all elements of Petroleum Systems Analysis with a focus on the integration of basin modelling and geochemistry in charge risking.

Alex Svalova, a CDT student in the 2014 cohort studying at the University of Newcastle, is in a winning groove as she has been chosen to showcase her research at the UK parliament in Westminster on 13th March as part of the STEM for BRITAIN programme. Alex is joining 5 other PhD students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and will be presenting on her research title ‘Ultrasound spectrometry of the aggregation of asphaltenes during the formation of water-in-oil emulsions’ which uses petroleum chemistry to further understanding of how water and oil interact with the ultimate aim of improving the clean-up of oil spills.

Callum Fry, a CDT student in the 2015 entry cohort studying at the University of Southampton, was selected to present a poster of his work at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) fall meeting held in San Fransisco from 12 – 16th December 2016.  Callum’s PhD research topic is ‘High resolution 3D imaging of Polygonal Fault Systems’ under the supervision of Dr Justin Dix and Professor John Bull at Southampton and Professor Joe Cartwright at the University of Oxford.