David Willetts opens the National Geological Repository

Rt Hon David Willetts MP opens the National Geological Repository at BGS Keyworth.

BGS Executive Director, Prof. John Ludden (left) shows David Willetts and Ed Wallis (NERC Chariman) the Geological Walk at BGS Keyworth

Dr Richard Hughes, previous BGS Director of Geoscience Information and Knowledge Exchange, is interviewed by BBC East Midlands about the offical opening.

David Willetts takes a tour around the NGR core inspection bays

The Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, visited BGS Keyworth on 27 February to open the National Geological Repository (NGR).

'The excellent new repository is a real asset for the UK and testament to our proud scientific history. With the country's largest collection of samples, combined with cutting edge facilities, it will be invaluable to the UK research base and industry for years to come.'

The NGR was created following the extension of the BGS core store and the relocation of the DECC oil and gas cores from Gilmerton, Edinburgh to the BGS headquarters in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire. The majority of BGS holdings are now in the NGR, where they can be fully exploited in a suite of examination facilities and technical laboratories.

The NGR contains the largest archive of subsurface information in the UK, incorporating onshore and offshore material from the BGS, DECC, the Coal authority and other national collections.

We have also incorporated the British Antarctic Survey’s geological collections as part of the NGR.

In all, these collections allow evaluation of onshore and offshore resources in hydrocarbons, mineral resources, the potential for radioactive waste containment, carbon capture and storage and geothermal energy and underground energy storage.

The future for the NGR

The BGS is in the planning stage of scanning the onshore cores, and remaining records and maps, that will underpin shale gas, coal gas and the renewal of mineral and geothermal exploration in the UK.

In addition, the BGS plans to release all of its international holdings to encourage economic development in mineral exploration worldwide. We expect that the NGR core store will be full within the next ten years and a new extension is already being considered.

The NGR will be opened as accommodation for critical collections from higher education institutes (HEIs) as some of these become available and universities change programmes and professors retire.

The BGS will create a rock physics network that will include the key universities in the UK and will link with the foremost institutions in research in subsurface infrastructure research across Europe.

About the National Geological Repository

The NGR holds over 500 km of drill core, cuttings from over 23 000 wells and boreholes, over three million specimens of the UK biostratigraphic (fossil) record, palaeontological, rock and mineral collections including: some of Darwin’s early materials, early material from the Antarctic and the National Building Stone collection.

'The repository houses some of the most economically important archives that underpin the future energy supply for Britain, but also some of the most iconic collections of geology — including samples collected by Charles Darwin on the Beagle; the first rock samples from Antarctica; and some of the oldest multicellular life forms on the planet.'

In the BGS library (part of the NGR) we hold 500 000 books and reports, 12 000 journal titles, 75 000 photos, 30 000 items in archive some dating back 500 years.

Visit the NGR

The NGR is open to industrial and academic users; for the oil and gas records, we have 250 unique groups of industrial users since 2007 (mainly repeat users) and also numerous university users for advanced level teaching. More information at Who are the National Geological Repository users?


Contact enquiries@bgs.ac.uk for more information