Dr Patrick Dowey

Post Doctoral Research Associate Mudstone and Shale Gas Research (MSGR) Group

Patrick Dowey

I hope that my research will enable exploration companies to better understand the shale resources that they are developing around the world and potentially enable improved accuracy in locating and exploiting gas and oil in wells.

Background

The opportunity to work in a relatively new and developing area of Geology and in an environment where I can continue to learn and publish novel research was the main attraction.  Within the research group and wider department (SEAES) there is a lot of expertise in sedimentary and petroleum geology which was also appealing.

The University of Manchester has a particularly strong focus on research and aims to be one of the top 25 research universities in the world by 2020.  I knew that working at one of the best universities in the world would give me excellent opportunities in future.  Talking to other researchers I found that the University is very supportive of researcher career development and I would be able to continue to develop skills outside of my research.

Research

The aim of my research is to better understand porosity within mudstone and shale rocks, and how fracturing improves the flow of oil and gas out of those rocks.  I do this by analysing mudstone samples in cores, at high resolution through microscopy and through X-ray CT imaging.  Collating and analysing this data on range of resolution scales improves our understanding of the variability within these sediments.

My work primarily involves preparing and analysing rock samples.  I also read research articles and write publications and presentations related to my research.  I spend time working on the administration of the research group planning and coordinating research and outputs.  I enjoy the working in a new and developing area of Geology, which may potentially have an impact on how this resource is developed.  Personally, I particularly enjoy the freedom to plan how I work and the opportunity to pursue new research areas as they develop.

The MSGR group consists of individuals working across different sub-disciplines and groups.  I work with others within my department involved with the study of natural and hydraulically induced fractures.  I also work extensively with the Manchester X-ray imaging facility at the Diamond synchrotron in Oxfordshire.  As a cross faculty research group, we are well placed to gain funding for our research and can better respond to outside research developments and the requirements of sponsors.

Future

I hope that my research will enable exploration companies to better understand the shale resources that they are developing around the world and potentially enable improved accuracy in locating and exploiting gas and oil in wells.

Finding a shale reservoir that is of a similar scale and quality as those in North America and proving that it can produce commercially will be key to proving that this resource can work in Europe.

▲ Up to the top