Borehole core collections

BGS Data — National Geological Repository

The BGS collection of continuous borehole core, broken core, cuttings, etc. are held at Keyworth. The hydrogeological materials collection, which includes core and borehole material, is housed at our Wallingford site in Oxfordshire.

Permian sandstone/breccia core sample
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Permian sandstone/breccia core sample from a groundwater exploration borehole at Granton, Moffat. BGS © UKRI.

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The collections

  • The onshore borehole materials collection (including hydrocarbon wells) has approximately 250 km of core, plus about 150 km of drilling represented by cuttings. Samples are held from about 15 000 boreholes. Borehole names and positions may be determined from the GeoIndex and the Borehole Materials Database.
  • The BGS manages the national collection of UKCS (offshore) hydrocarbon well samples. The collection consists of core and cuttings for all wells drilled for hydrocarbon exploration in UK waters and was transferred from the Gilmerton store, Edinburgh to Keyworth during 2011–2012.
  • The offshore (non-hydrocarbon) material collection contains cores, vibrocores, gravity cores, grab samples, etc. There are about 12 000 m of core and 15 000 seabed samples. Core positions are available on the offshore Geoindex.
  • The BGS manages the collection of seabed samples which are routinely collected during the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) Civil Hydrography Programme (CHP) Hydrographic Instruction (HI) surveys.
  • The Nirex Geological Archive was transferred from Nirex to the BGS during 2000–2001. The archive consists of borehole cores and samples, thin and polished sections, digital data and paper records acquired by Nirex during its investigations at Sellafield and Dounreay.

Specimens are available for study at Keyworth and a loan system is available to accredited scientists.

Download the borehole material regulations and booking form.

Search our borehole core collections

Use the links below to access our onshore borehole and offshore hydrocarbon wells database

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 Steven, Senior Records Manager

Telephone: 0131 6500 434

Andrew Morrison, Archivist

Telephone: 0115 936 3247

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