National Geological Repository (NGR)

BGS Data

The National Geological Repository (NGR) is a UKRI national science facility, the largest collection of UK geoscience samples, and an integral part of the British Geological Survey (Natural Environment Research Council) located at the survey’s headquarters in Nottinghamshire. Its unique collections of borehole cores and samples, fossils, rocks and other samples, and related subsurface information from the UK landmass and continental shelf are used extensively by industry, in research, and to support university teaching. The NGR has the UK’s largest core storage and examination facility. Its centrepiece is the core store and records collections.

  • Over 250 km of cores, samples and cuttings from over 15 000 onshore boreholes, including collections from ‘landward’ hydrocarbon wells held on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/Oil and Gas Authority and deposited with the NGR under PON9b
  • Over 350 km of drill-core and 4.5 million samples of cuttings from approximately 8000 wells comprising the UK Continental Shelf offshore hydrocarbon collection, held on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/Oil and Gas Authority and deposited with the NGR under PON9 and the Information and Samples Regulations made under the Energy Act 2016
  • Offshore sea-bed sediment and core samples from the UK continental shelf and elsewhere, including vibrocore samples, grab samples and gravity cores.
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Civil Hydrography Programme seabed samples.
  • The UK’s foremost biostratigraphical collections of over three million specimens
  • The major British collection of rocks and thin sections
  • Geochemistry collections comprising a variety of materials, mostly held as processed soil and stream sediment samples, collected primarily for geochemical analysis.
  • Unique collections of geological records and maps
  • Parts of the British Antarctic Survey’s rock and fossil collections from Antarctica and the southern Atlantic. Held for BAS and accessed through BAS.
  • Limited subsampling is allowed, and the data, prepared samples, residues, reports and papers must be lodged with the NGR. The raw data is freely available two years after sampling.

The GeoIndex is an easy-to-use searchable map interface that enables users to find all data and information held by the BGS for any part of the UK, onshore and offshore.

Additional online databases can be searched to discover the physical collections held in the NGR, including:

The BGS is progressively scanning and digitising the NGR collections, and some of these are now available online free of charge.

Examples include over 1.3 million scanned UK onshore borehole records, and
125 000 high-definition images of cores from UK continental shelf hydrocarbon exploration and production wells — available from OpenGeoscience.

Access to the collections of the National Geological Repository is provided free of charge to private individuals, students and academic researchers.

Commercial users are charged on a cost-recovery basis. Full details of these charges, and how to make arrangements to use the NGR, can be found at: Using materials collections

The National Geological Repository (NGR) collections and facilities underpin exploration for natural resources, facilitate the expansion of existing and new businesses, inform subsurface risk assessment and site investigations.

In particular the collections underpin oil and gas exploration, mineral exploration, construction and civil engineering, groundwater management, and research into topics including carbon capture and storage, and radioactive waste management.

Student and academic users

The NGR collections are used regularly by academics and students working on a very broad range of earth sciences research, from palaeobiology to hydrocarbon prospectivity.

A number of UK universities bring student parties to the NGR each year, and use its collections and facilities to support practical teaching and training in petroleum geoscience.

Supporting Government legislation

The NGR directly supports Government, its departments and agencies, in the implementation of legislation, regulation and codes of practice relating to subsurface data acquired by private operators during groundwater and mineral (including oil and gas) exploration.

Legislation requires parties that drill certain types of wells to deposit specific records and samples with the British Geological Survey; the legislation includes:

  • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/Oil and Gas Authority ; Petroleum Operations Notices (PON9 and PON9b); Information & Samples Regulations made under the Energy Act 2016
  • Mining Industry Act 1926
  • Water Resources Act 1991
  • Water (Scotland) Act 1946

These materials are all housed and managed in the National Geological Repository.

The British Standard 5930 (Site Investigation) and the Health and Safety Executive’s ‘Approved Code of Practice on the Prevention of Inrushes in Mines’ both reference key NGR collections as an essential source for due diligence information during desk studies.

Find out more about the NGR:

BGS Corporate Collections Advisory Committee

A small committee of curators, drawn from national and university museums, monitors progress with the Collections, reviews the Curatorial Policies and Collections Management Procedures, and advises on future work. It is also the ultimate authority in complex accession and de-accession matters. Committee membership is honorary and normally for a period of three years, with two meetings per year.

The Chief Curator (Dr M P A Howe) would like to hear from any suitably qualified individuals interested in serving on the committee in the future.

Get in touch

For general NGR enquiries or to arrange a visit, please contact: or 0115 936 3143

Dr Mike Howe, Chief Curator

Telephone: 0115 936 3105

Alison Fernie, Senior Records Manager

Telephone: 0131 6500 434

Andrew Morrison, Archivist

Telephone: 0115 936 3247

Sue Roper, Geo-Information Collections Co-ordinator

Telephone: 0115 936 3127


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