Impact of Sedimentological Heterogeneity on CO2 Migration and Trapping Potential: HyNet North West project, Liverpool Bay, Offshore UK


Impact of Sedimentological Heterogeneity on CO2 Migration and Trapping Potential: HyNet North West project, Liverpool Bay, Offshore UK


Project Description


Prof. Domenico Chiarella (Royal Holloway University of London, Department of Earth Sciences) – Contact me

Dr. Nicola Scarselli, Earth Sciences, RHUL


Project background

Geological carbon storage is widely recognised to be a key asset in tackling anthropogenic emissions and climate change to reach a sustainable ‘net zero’. Geological heterogeneities can play an important role in the storage units because they control the presence of barrier and baffles. Their impact can either be positive (e.g., decrease the rate at which the CO2 exceeds the limits of the storage site), or negative (e.g., reduce the effective reservoir volume causing CO2 loss). Accordingly, understanding the geological lateral and vertical variability of a CO2 reservoir is a critical aspect when assessing the risk and viability of CCS projects.

Research methodology

The candidate will investigate the sedimentary heterogeneity of the Triassic Ormskirk Sandstone Formation (Sherwood Sandstone Group, offshore UK) representing the full-scale CO2 storage for the HyNet NorthWest project. Data consists of recently acquired seismic reflection data integrated with legacy seismic and borehole data (i.e., wireline logs and core). Methodologies include seismic interpretation of the key reflectors and fault structures as well as petrophysical and sedimentological analysis of wireline logs. This approach allows the characterisation of the large-scale geometries of the reservoir units as well as a medium-scale analysis of the lithofacies and their variabilities. Cores available at the BGS core depository will be described at small-scale (i.e., cm-scale) to produce detailed sedimentological logs. Specific intervals of interest will be sampled to produce thin-sections and Computed Tomography images that will allow a 3-Dimensional analysis of the deposits at the micro-scale.


The successful candidate will join a vibrant research group working on characterising subsurface geological environments needed for clean Energy transition technologies. In addition to the mandatory cohort training events organised by DTP, the candidate will have the possibility to participate in workshops, field trips, schools and conferences organised by professional bodies and the research group. Bespoke training activities will also be discussed and organised in collaboration with external industry partners, with the potential for internships that will be beneficial for the growth of the candidate’s experience.

Person specification

We are looking for a candidate with interest in the characterisation of potential CO2 reservoirs. Prior experience with seismic interpretation, wireline analysis and core description is desirable.


  • Payton, R., Fellgett, M., Clark, B., Chiarella, D., Kingdon, A. & Hier-Majumder, S. (2019) Pore Scale Assessment of Subsurface Carbon Storage Potential: Implications for the UK Geoenergy Observatories Project, Petroleum Geoscience. 27, 2, petgeo2020-092.
  • Payton, R. L., Chiarella, D. & Kingdon, A. (2022) Using legacy core material to assess subsurface carbon storage reservoir potentiality, Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 527
  • Chedburn L., Underhill J.R., Head S. Jamieson R. (2022) The critical evaluation of carbon dioxide subsurface storage sites: Geological challenges in the depleted fields of Liverpool Bay, AAPG Bulletin 106 (9): 1753–1789.
  • Becker B.W., Baldino F., Aleandri A. (2021) Liverpool Bay Area CCS: An advanced Case Study to Achieve UK's Carbon Neutrality

Key Information

  • This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC DTP and will start on 1st October 2023. The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 11th January 2023.
  • Successful candidates who meet UKRI’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship, which covers fees, stipend (£17,668 p.a. for 2022/23) and research funding. International applicants are eligible for fully-funded ARIES studentships including fees. Please note however that ARIES funding does not cover additional costs associated with relocation to, and living in, the UK.
  • ARIES students benefit from bespoke graduate training and ARIES provides £2,500 to every student for access to external training, travel and conferences, on top of all Research Costs associated with the project. Excellent applicants from quantitative disciplines with limited experience in environmental sciences may be considered for an additional 3-month stipend to take advanced-level courses.
  • ARIES is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of its operation. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and transgender status. Academic qualifications are considered alongside non-academic experience, and our recruitment process considers potential with the same weighting as past experience.
  • All ARIES studentships may be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, visa requirements notwithstanding
  • For further information, please contact the supervisor. To apply for this Studentship follow the instructions at the bottom of the page or click the 'apply now' link.
  • ARIES is required by our funders to collect Equality and Diversity Information from all of our applicants. The information you provide will be used solely for monitoring and statistical purposes; it will remain confidential, and will be stored on the UEA sharepoint server. Data will not be shared with those involved in making decisions on the award of Studentships, and will have no influence on the success of your application. It will only be shared outside of this group in an anonymised and aggregated form. You will be ask to complete the form by the University to which you apply.

Applications are open

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