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Unconventional Gas

The past decade has seen spectacular growth in the exploration and development of so-called ‘unconventional gas’ in North America. Only a decade ago, these hydrocarbons would rarely have been considered for extraction, but the development of new technology has turned accepted wisdom of petroleum exploration on its head.

Unconventionals include a wide range of resources, including shale gas/oil and coal bed methane. All are trapped within tight rocks, and evaluating what is available is not straightforward. Although it is becoming clear that vast volumes exist on a global scale, their production raises many social and environmental challenges.

This presentation will examine the origin and range of unconventional resources, the controversies which surround their exploitation, and their potential for contributing to a solution to global energy challenges.


Melvyn Giles (Shell)


Melvyn Giles holds a First Class Honours Degree in Geology and Chemistry from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D in Geology from the University of Glasgow. In 1980 he joined Shell Research in Rijswijk in the Exploration Research Department where he worked on diagenesis and sedimentology.

In 1987 he moved to London joining Shell EXPRO where he worked on North Sea exploration with responsibility for core and regional studies. He remained in London until 1991 when he rejoined Shell Research in Rijswijk initially as the Head of the Basin Modelling Research team. He subsequently held various roles in research and development until 2006 culminating in responsibility for the exploration research groups in Rijswijk and Houston.

In mid-2006 he rejoined Global Exploration and was charged with understanding if there was a business case for unconventional gas outside of North America. Over the period and until mid-2009 he led efforts to identify potential resources around the globe and how to access them. From 2008 onwards he became Global Theme Lead for Unconventional Gas - a consultancy role - that requires a holistic view of Shell’s unconventional gas business.

Over the years he has published over 30 academic papers, edited one book and authored a second. In his spare time he enjoys flying as a private pilot, photography and travel.



Event Details

Date: 9 May 2012
Venue: The Geological Society, London
Speaker: Melvyn Giles



Naomi Newbold
Tel: 020 7432 0981
[email protected]