Lights on Pier - Stock Image ©

Energy supply is fundamental to the national energy policy, and the development of new natural resources is a key part of ensuring the future provision of energy.

To further this aim, BGS is developing a range of products interpreting existing data assets to assist and inform those involved in researching and identifying new energy sources.

Products currently under development due out in 2014–15 include:

Vitrinite reflectance (VR)

VR is an indicator of the maximum temperature history of sediment, and is measured by the percent of incident light reflected from a polished surface of vitrinite.

Originally used to diagnose thermal maturity or rank in coals, VR is now used to indicate whether a source rock was heated enough to produce oil, oil and gas, or gas only.

Total organic content (TOC)

TOC is a measure of the weight percent of organic carbon within hydrocarbon source rocks. Measuring TOC is a starting point in considering whether a shale contains enough organic carbon to produce gas: typically, above two per cent is required to produce useful quantities of gas.

Research and development

  • Extended coverage for VR and TOC, subject to data availability
  • Map of prospective shale gas areas
  • Rock stress data from borehole breakout measurements
  • Geothermal gradients and the use of geothermal energy stored in the form of heat beneath the Earth's surface.


Contact Kathrine Linley for more information.