SRC has formed the Natural Hydrogen Study Group (NHSG) to research all aspects of the occurrence and exploration for Natural (“Gold”) Hydrogen in a variety of geological settings. NHSG is made up of experts in the fields of petroleum exploration, minerals exploration, petrophysics, geophysics and metamorphic geology. Building on expertise gained in the minerals and conventional oil & gas sectors, we are investigating how well established, science-led exploration techniques can be applied to play-based screening and evaluation approach to locate natural hydrogen occurrences.

Members of the NHSG (Steve Lawrence, Owain Jackson, Richard Heath and Ian Hutchinson) are pleased to be working with industry experts and the Geological Society of London to convene a new conference ‘Natural Hydrogen: A New Frontier for Energy Geoscience’ to be held at Burlington House in July 2023 for which a preliminary programme as been prepared Natural Hydrogen – Programme. The conference will address how geoscience can be applied to the exploration for and harnessing of natural hydrogen, including play models, hydrogen habitats, similarities and differences with other natural resources, exploration techniques and ways to detect and measure natural hydrogen. Geol Soc Natural Hydrogen conference

The NHSG is currently working with colleagues from Bridgeporth (Metatek Group) on a study for RAK PA (RAK Petroleum Authority) with the support of RAK Gas in Ras al Khaimah, onshore UAE. The study involves the integration of available data and interpretation of airborne FTG and magnetic data acquired on behalf of RAK PA. NHSG will work with colleagues from RAK PA and Bridgeporth to undertake a feasibility assessment of the Natural Hydrogen potential of the RAK South Area. The technical focus for the feasibility study will be to assess the potential for ‘high-temperature’ serpentinisation of ultramafic rocks contained within the ophiolite sequences as a possible source of natural hydrogen. We will use petroleum system analogues to analyse the hydrogen system, develop play model(s) and evaluate the potential for further hydrogen exploration and exploitation.

NHSG (Owain Jackson) presented a paper entitled Hydrogen Systems in Continental Sedimentary Basins at the AAPG Europe Regional Conference in May 2022, see for further details. The Abstract for the paper is available here: Lawrence et al. Abstract

A paper ‘Greenstones as a source of hydrogen in sedimentary basinswas recently presented by Ian Hutchinson at the Geological Society Conference: ‘The impacts of volcanism on sedimentary basins and their energy resources’, 8-9th Sept. 2022. A Special Publication volume is anticipated to be published in 2024 and an open access copy of the NHSG paper is available here. The Abstract for the paper is available here: Hutchinson-Greenstones. 

On behalf of NHSG Ian also presented a talk Exploring Africa – this time for Gold Hydrogen not Black Gold, at the HGS-PESGB Africa Conference: ‘The future of G&G in Africa’s E&P Skills, Transition & Resources’, held on 26-28th Sept 2022. Ian received the Bronze award for his presentation.

An Abstract Natural Hydrogen – a Review of Habitats, Subsurface Systems and Exploration Potential’ has been accepted for the joint PESGB-Geological Society Energy Geoscience Conference 2023 to be held on 16-18 May 2023.

For details of past and future presentations please contact SRC.

NHSG’s current research directions include:


  • Controls/Limitations on the reaction (and therefore volumes of hydrogen generated)
  • Water throughput in Protolith
  • Water access to Protolith

Greenstones Protoliths

  • Occurrence/Distribution
  • Composition, ultrabasic rock-types, olivine distribution, metamorphic grade
  • Structure

Evaluation of Hydrogen in wells

  • Detection of hydrogen in wells drilled for hydrocarbons
  • Evaluation of potentially hydrogen-bearing tight and faulted/fractured ‘reservoirs’
  • Investigation of availability of wells with log suites in basins with known or potential hydrogen

The photograph includes members of the NHSG on a helicopter assisted field trip to investigate possible occurrence of natural hydrogen in Mali.

The photograph includes members of the NHSG on a helicopter assisted field trip to investigate possible occurrence of natural hydrogen in Mali.
Helicopter assisted fieldwork, Mali