The fields that were found on John’s watchSource: Goffey et al. (2020)

The fields that were found on John’s watch

Last weekend saw the publication of a memoir discussing almost 150 onshore and offshore fields in all of the UK’s main petroliferous basins.

Edited by industry gurus Graham Goffey and Jon Gluyas, this volume marks the fourth in a series of Geological Society Memoirs on UK’s oil and gas fields. It also marks the extraordinary 50+ year journey that has led to the development of some 458 oil and gas fields on the UK Continental Shelf.

The volume is dedicated to the late John Brooks, who in his position at the Department of Energy oversaw and influenced exploration and licensing activities on both the UK offshore and onshore for a very long time. He ensured that deeper plays were tested as well as appropriately cored.

As the editors describe in their freely available introduction paper, it took some time to build awareness and enthusiasm of people to contribute to Memoir 52; it was 2016 and many people at the time rightly thought that the industry was experiencing the worst and longest crisis it would ever meet.

UKCS petroleum basins and fields showing fields addressed by papers in the Memoir.

Moving forward to 2020, an impressive volume consisting of 80 papers discussing almost 150 fields is now available. The papers are intended to provide a consistent summary of the exploration, appraisal, development and production history of each field, leading to the current subsurface understanding which is described in greater detail. It encapsulates the petroleum industry’s deep subsurface knowledge accrued over more than 50 years of exploration and production.


In order to celebrate publication of this Memoir, a digital conference will be held on 30th November. 16 invited speakers will talk about fields which are discussed in the Memoir, with talks covering all of the major UK basins and highlighting the Memoir’s running themes.

The Memoir, which will be available for purchase soon, also contains a 50-page appendix that lists all references to publications on UKCS developed and undeveloped fields. This will be a very useful starting point for anyone wanting to further delve into the wealth of research performed on one of the best-studied basins in the world.