PhD Studentship: NERC Oil and Gas CDT - Middle to Late Jurassic global palaeoenvirinmental events in the Arabian Gulf region: chemostratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy, and sedimentology

University of Exeter - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Stephen Hesselbo (University of Exeter, CSM)
Secondary Supervisors: Dr Aisha Al Suwaidi (Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE) & Dr Micha Ruhl (University of Oxford)

Project Description:

Jurassic strata host some of the world's most prolific hydrocarbon source rocks and potential unconventional gas resources (e.g. Posidonia shale, Bossier, etc.). Many source rocks in the Mesozoic can be confidently related to global palaeoenvironmental change events, such as Oceanic Anoxic Events. However, knowledge of distributions and origins of these rocks is focussed on well-known age intervals and limited geographic regions. Some recent datasets show that the Middle-Late Jurassic time interval may have been subject to previously unknown global events, expressed in the rock record as geochemical excursions and organic-rich shales. This project focusses on cores and outcrop from the United Arab Emirates and Oman and aims to understand the resource occurrence and quality in the Gulf region and beyond, and to link these to fundamental Earth system processes. The project will apply fieldwork, sedimentology, petrography, geochemistry (XRF), carbon-isotope chemostratigraphy (organic and carbonate carbon), and cyclostratigraphy, to reconstruct conditions during deposition and predict the distribution and quality of organic matter in fine grained basinal sediments.

CDT Research theme(s):

Effective production of unconventional hydrocarbons. Basinal middle-late Jurassic deposits are currently targets for unconventional gas exploration in the Arabian Gulf. Shales with organic enrichment are known for this time interval and region, but their stratigraphy and depositional settings are inadequately known.

Research context:

This project will be hosted within the Deep Time Global Change group at CSM, where projects investigating palaeoclimate, sedimentology, petrography and organic matter dissemination within source-rocks are underway, using a variety of analytical techniques including stable isotopes and state-of-the-art SEM analysis.

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South West England