John Underhill


Professor / Chair of Exploration Geoscience & Chief Scientist


Room 3

Shell Centre for Exploration Geoscience

Heriot-Watt University


EH14 4AS

+44 (0)131 451 3987



John has over 30 years of experience working on exploration projects, the majority of which have been undertaken in the UKCS. During his career, John has worked as an explorationist with Shell (1985-89), worked on sabbatical at BP (1992-94), where he contributed to the development of the North Sea J-sequence stratigraphy and with Norsk Hydro (1997-99), where he helped open exploration of new plays in the Norwegian sector of the N Sea. His applied geoscience research focus has been on seismic stratigraphy, basin analysis, petroleum systems and prospectivity of sedimentary basins. His expertise has been recognised through various awards including the EAGE Wegener Prize, AAPG and GSL’s Petroleum Group Silver Medal for services to North Sea exploration. He convenes and delivers the PESGB North Sea petroleum systems course, having taken this on from Ken Glennie and has recently instigated the PESGB’s Atlantic margins workshop. John has published extensively and is a regular contributor to conferences and was a keynote speaker at last year’s PGC. A number of publications are of direct relevance to the MNSH including those on the Midland Valley of Scotland, the Central North Sea, the Southern North Sea and neighbouring Cleveland and Craven/Bowland Basins. John has worked with fission track data, vitrinite reflectance and sonic velocities as well as having experience of integrating gravity and magnetic data for basin modelling, all of which will form component parts that add value to the seismic interpretation and structural analysis of the MNSH and Rockall Areas.