Current research

Kevin Taylor

Prof Kevin Taylor is a professor in the University of Manchester and is currently Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. His research has applied standard petrographic and geochemical analysis (e.g. optical and electron microscopy, XRD, stable isotope analysis) and novel mineralogical analysis (e.g. CL, Raman, synchrotron X-ray analysis) to modern and ancient sediment and systems.  He has been instrumental in integrating field- and basin-scale observations with pore-scale analysis, which has had significant implications for predicting shale and sandstone oil and gas reservoir properties.  His recent and current research has been integrating multi-scale sedimentological and diagenetic analysis in major mudstone successions and shale-gas reservoirs (e.g. the Mancos Shale, Utah; the Marcellus, Woodford and Fayetteville Shales of eastern USA; Cretaceous calcareous shales of the Western Interior Seaway, Ordovician Shales in Canada).  He is currently collaborating on research initiatives in shale-reservoir structure using high-resolution X-ray CT scanning and experimental mechanical analysis of shales, with links to petrophysical data.  He has received funding from both the international oil and gas industry, and the UK research councils, has published >70 peer reviews papers and has supervised over 40 PhD students, and he is on the Editorial Board of the journal “Geology”

Neveen Elsayed

The aim of my research is to build a sedimentological facies model that better represents the early Jurassic Mudstones of Cleveland Basin, UK. The facies model will help to understand the vertical and lateral variability (internal structure, texture, mineralogical composition and organic carbon content) within these mudstones and define the sedimentological and depositional processes responsible for the variations. Organic-rich mudstones have become significant hydrocarbon reservoirs. The success in producing and enhancing recovery rates from these reservoirs depends on characterising the different physical properties such as organic carbon content, porosity and permeability distributions that are controlled by depositional and diagenetic processes.

Tim Ohiara

The Carboniferous Hodder Mudstone is a carbonate-rich mudstone and a potential UK unconventional reservoir. My research aims to characterise the depositional fabric, diagenetic evolution and associated nano- (>3nm) to micro- (63μm) porosity. Data for this research is generated from high resolution petrographic and geochemical analyses of core samples from 11 wells across a 3.7 km transect in the Bowland Basin, UK. I also utilise a lithofacies approach to understand the timing, nature and effects of carbonate and silicate mineral diagenesis on pore distribution. The outcome of the research will identify controls on the evolution of pore-networks within mudstone reservoirs.

Yusuf Bashir

My research characterises the geological, mineralogical, petrophysical variability in Haynesville-Bossier Shale (USA) and the Bowland Shale (UK). Permeability within shale fracture networks is pressure-dependent. I utilise X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray computed tomography to determine how, at low effective pressures, crack networks vary with microstructure and composition. I will also measure permeability in selected samples to characterise how permeability varies with pressure. I will then produce simulation models to represent fluid flow in shale reservoirs where permeability is a function of effective pressure.

Jianpeng Wang

My research project is about the controlling factors of Cenomanian/Turonian source rock deposition in Moroccan basins during oceanic anoxic event II (OAE2). This has involved several weeks’ field work in the Agadi, Errachidia and Tarfaya Basins. I utilise several techniques including petrography (microscope and SEM observation), biostratigraphy (foraminifera and ammonites) organic geochemistry (TOC and Rock-eval) and inorganic geochemical and mineralogical analyses (δ13C and δ18O isotopes, XRD, trace and major element geochemistry). The aims are to reconstruct source rock depositional palaeoenvironments and further investigate the factors driving source rock quality in Morocco during OAE2 interval.

Ayomiposi Grace Oluwadebi

My PhD research aims to understand the diagenetic history of the Collyhurst Tight-gas Sandstone from East Irish Sea Basin in the Northern England, United Kingdom and how diagenesis affects the reservoir quality of the sandstone. The research focuses on the mineralogical distribution, diagenetic processes and the characterization of 3D pore structures in the sandstone. So far, I have produced facies scheme for the Collyhurst Sandstone Formation and identified the paragenetic sequence within the two studied wells. I have also analysed how lithofacies and diagenesis affect the reservoir quality (porosity and permeability) of the sandstone.

Patrick Dowey

The aim of my current research is to better understand the formation and development of mudstones. I am interested in how factors such as composition and diagenesis can affect mudstone properties. I do this by analysing mudstone samples in cores, using high resolution microscope techniques and through the mineralogical and chemical analysis of mudstone components. Recent research has identified micro-scale late diagenetic quartz cement formation and the authigenic development of the Haynesville-Bossier Shale. I am currently working on a project to characterise trace metals in UK shales.

Kévin Boulesteix

My PhD project focuses on mudstone depositional processes and sequence stratigraphy in the Permian of the Karoo Basin (South Africa). Recent studies have identified that mudstones can be deposited in more energetic environments than may have previously been thought. I am particularly interested by the across margin variability of mud-dominated depositional environments as well as by the sedimentological effects of the major climatic changes occurring during the Permian (icehouse to greenhouse transition). I am analysing core and outcrop data to define macrofacies and sedimentary processes. I am also using high resolution microscope techniques to define microfacies and mineralogical assemblages.

Yusuf Abubakar

My PhD project aims to better understand the role of sulfur in the preservation of organic matter in mudstones of contrasting compositions. In iron-depleted marine sediments, the process of sulfurization can enhance organic matter preservation. However, it remains unclear which environmental factors control this process. Moreover, why mudstones with similar suites of oxidants and reductants result in differing amounts of sulfurized organic matter and pyrites is still unknown. In my research I employ several state-of-the-art organic and inorganic analytical and spectrometry techniques to reconstruct the palaeoenvironmental depositional conditions of sulfur-rich mudstones.

Lin Ma

My research project is ‘Multi-scale 3D imaging and quantification of pore-, organic- and mineral- structure in shale reservoirs’ and aims to characterize shale gas microstructure through multi-scale imaging. I focus on the distribution and connectivity of pores, organic matter and minerals in several shale plays using X-ray tomography and serial block face SEM techniques over a range of resolutions (millimeters to nanometers). In particular I work on trying to understand and quantify the relationship between organic matter/minerals and pores on multiple scales, and how quantitative data can be upscaled from nano scale to micro scale or even macro scale in shale reservoirs.

Rhys Hamlyn

My Ph.D. research involves integrating sedimentary architecture and diagenesis of the Mancos Shale during the Cretaceous. Deposited within the Western Interior Seaway, the Mancos Shale, USA is extensively exposed providing an ideal insight into diagenetic alterations across a basin. Fieldwork will be undertaken in Utah, USA to execute sedimentological logging of vertical successions and sample collection, the latter being manufactured into thin sections to observe grain size mineralogy and its diagenetic components to determine bed-scale, bed-set-scale and parasequence-scale variabilities within the Mancos Shale. I am interested in observing whether there is an expression of sequences boundaries and maximum flooding surfaces in mudstones and if possible, correlate across to proximal settings. Understanding the nature and scale of diagenetic variability within the Mancos Shale is critical as it can assist in the understanding of shale-gas reservoirs.

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