ESR focusses in three main areas of application of its exploration, production and monitoring expertise:
Oil and Gas. ESR research concerns fields and reservoirs from across the world, including the North Sea, the Middle East, Gulf of Mexico, North America, and China. The wealth of experience available within Edinburgh is evident from the list of well-known People in ESR.
Gas Hydrates. This is a form of natural gas that is 'frozen' in the sense that gas molecules are trapped in solid, ice-like water cages. Gas hydrates occur at significant pressures and low temperatures, and are therefore only found in the first few hundreds of meters below the ocean bottom in deep-water areas. Gas hydrates may become a viable natural gas resource in the future. More immediately, they are a geohazard for deep-water drilling because their melting may cause borehole collapse. ESR scientists are developing methods to detect and image these potentially vast accumulations - for further information contact Dr. Ingo Pecher.
CO2 Storage. According to Lord Rees, head of the Royal Society of London and Britain's most respected scientist, climate change is the most significant challenge facing the Earth since the first mission to the Moon. According to the Stern Report, "The body of evidence and growing quantitative assessment of risks [of climate change] are now sufficient to give clear and strong guidance to economists and policy-makers in shaping a response." Storing the CO2 currently emitted by coal or gas-fired power stations during conversion of hydrocarbons to electricity would contribute greatly to creating low carbon global and national economies. ESR provides the geophysical component of the Scottish Capture and Carbon Storage (SCCS), which will assess subsurface aquifers close to two UK power stations for possible subsurface injection and storage of CO2.