The discovery of of the world's first major underground oilfield in Pennsylvania, USA in 1859 sparked the continuing era of the world's reliance on cheap energy from oil and gas. This unit begins by examining the geological characteristics of petroleum and the key ingredients necessary to form oil and gas accumulations. Then there is a brief description of industrial operations during the life cycle of an oilfield, starting with subsurface analysis and exploration drilling. The unit also highlights the role of safety and environmental management as an integral part of the petroleum business and concludes with a short review of global resources and non-conventional petroleum.
Using the virtual microscope, students will zoom, pan, and rotate specimens in variable light conditions, helping to develop their classification and identification skills without need for high cost microscopes and thin section preparation facilities. The virtual microscope may be used as a complete collection or reused and repurposed individually, since each specimen will have a unique URL. The intention is to engage and excite students in Earth science using rocks of the British Isles held in key collections, and aid teaching of mineral and rock identification skills in HE institutions and schools. We plan to explore continued expansion of the initial collection by offering a digitisation service to HE institutions and industry.