Imperial College London

Professor Gary Hampson

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Professor of Sedimentary Geology



+44 (0)20 7594 6475g.j.hampson




1.42Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





My current research is focussed in two related areas: (1) process-based stratigraphic analysis of depositional systems, and (2) modelling the impact of stratigraphy, facies architecture and heterogeneity on fluid flow.

Process-based stratigraphic analysis

Ancient sedimentary rocks preserve a fragmented and incomplete record (“stratigraphy”) of changes in sedimentary environments resulting from numerous external controls (e.g. variations in sea-level, climate, tectonic setting, oceanographic circulation) and internal behaviours (e.g. switching of delta lobes) operating at widely varying time-scales. Unravelling this record requires interrogation of stratigraphy via a range of different techniques and approaches. My research has focussed principally on shallow-marine and coastal depositional systems, and is grounded in rigorous description of outcrop and sub-surface geology. I also collaborate extensively with specialists in allied geoscientific fields (e.g. tectonics, palaeontology, seismic interpretation, numerical modelling) in order to develop new techniques and concepts for interpreting the stratigraphic record. This research area provides fundamental insights into how sediments are eroded, transported, deposited and preserved on the Earth’s surface.

Reservoir characterisation and modelling

Stratigraphy and associated distributions of sedimentary rocks with different physical properties play a major role in controlling fluid flow. A significant proportion of my work has used extensive and integrated subsurface data (e.g. rock cores, wireline logs, seismic data, well tests, fluid pressures, etc.) to interpret the sedimentology, stratigraphy and internal heterogeneity of hydrocarbon reservoirs. A critical part of this work involves selecting appropriate outcrop analogues for high-resolution stratigraphic analysis, and to use such analogues to guide subsurface correlation and interpretation of rock volumes that are very sparsely sampled by wells. The aim of this work is to construct geologically rigorous numerical reservoir models, which faithfully represent porosity, permeability and other rock property distributions. Subsequent numerical simulations enable predictions of fluid flow and fluid displacement behaviour, which control the amounts of oil and gas that are recovered from the reservoir. This research is cross-disciplinary and collaborative; my contribution is to: (1) identify appropriate geological concepts and outcrop analogues that provide rigorous constraints on numerical reservoir models, (2) to supervise the collection and analysis of field data from outcrop analogues for input to numerical reservoir models, and (3) to check that the resulting numerical models retain the integrity of the geological concepts and field datasets that they are intended to represent. This research area facilitates the efficient extraction of oil and gas reserves.

Previous PDRAs and PhD students

Yacine Debbabi, PhD ("Generic modelling of reservoir heterogeneity and its impact on flow" 2013-2017) - now at Citigroup

Marijn Van Cappelle, PhD ("Facies architecture of the fluvial to tidal transition of mixed-influence deltas" 2012-2017) - now at PDS Petrotechnical

Yulia Melnikova, PDRA ("Surface-based geological modelling for reservoir simulation using unstructured adaptive meshing" 2015-2016)

Yvette Flood, PhD ("Combined facies analysis and quantitative characterisation of fluvial stratigraphic architecture at outcrop and in subsurface well data" 2011-2015) - now at Middlesex University.

Benoit Massart, PhD ("Improved characterisation and modelling of heterolithic tidal sandstone reservoirs" 2009-2014) - now at Statoil

Nick Holgate, PhD ("Geological characterisation of shallow marine to deltaic sandstone reservoir targets: Krossfjord and Fensfjord formations, Troll Field, Norwegian North Sea" 2009-2014) - now at Shell UK

Aruna Mannie, PhD ("The rise and fall of diapirs during regional extension and its influence on the deposition of a net-transgressive coastal-plain-to-shallow-marine succession: Middle-to-Upper Jurassic, Norwegian Central Graben" 2011-2014) - now at Premier Oil

Gavin Graham, PhD ("Improved characterization and modelling of thinly-bedded, shallow-marine sandstone reservoirs" 2009-2013) - now at Total Geoscience Research Centre

Peter Fitch, PDRA ("Impact of stratigraphic, sedimentologic and diagenetic heterogeneity on fluid flow in carbonate reservoirs" 2010-2013) - now at Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London

Stefano Patruno, PhD ("Geological characterisation of sand-prone subaqeuous delta systems: a case study of the Upper Jurassic Sognefjord Formation (Troll Field, northern North Sea, offshore Norway) and global examples" 2009-2013) - now at PGS

Berit Legler, PDRA ("Improved characterisation and modelling of low permeability coastal and deltaic sandstone reservoirs" 2009-2011) - now at Wintershall

Andrew Mitchell, PhD ("Numerical modelling of tides and tsunamis in ancient epicontinental seas" 2006-2011)

Rachel Kieft, PhD ("Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of shallow-marine sediments in a syn-rift setting: Hugin Formation, South Viking Graben" 2006-2010) - now at Senex Energy

Peter Deveugle, PhD ("A comparative study of reservoir modelling techniques using high-resolution outcrop datasets" 2005-2009)

Samantha Taggart, PhD ("Quantifying the impact of geological heterogeneity on hydrocarbon recovery in marginal aeolian reservoirs" 2005-2009) - now at Engie E&P UK

Margaret Stewart, PhD ("3D seismic analysis of Pleistocene tunnel valleys in the Central North Sea" 2004-2009) - now at British Geological Survey

Oliver Jordan, PDRA ("A comparative study of transgressive sandstone reservoirs" 2006-2008) - now at Statoil

Martin Wells, PhD ("Tidal modelling of modern and ancient seas and oceans" 2004-2008) - now at BP

Karl Charvin, PhD ("Forward and inverse modelling of shallow-marine stratigraphy" 2004-2008) - now at Chevron Energy Technology Company

Alexander Kulpecz, PhD ("Controls on facies architecture in the Middle Jurassic Ravenscar Group, Yorkshire coast, UK" 2003-2008) - now at Pulsar Energy Capital

Kevin Choi, PhD ("Impact of heterogeneity on flow in fluvial-deltaic reservoirs: implications for the giant ACG Field, South Caspian Basin" 2003-2008) - now at Lukoil

Wendy Matthews, PhD ("Controls on sedimentary facies architecture in evolving salt basins" 2002-2008) - now at BP

Richard Sech, PhD ("Quantifying the impact of geological heterogeneity on gas recovery and water cresting, with application to the Columbus Basin gas fields, offshore Trindad " 2003-2007) - now at Anadarko

Jenny Morris, PhD ("Characterisation of an intensely bioturbated, shallow-marine reservoir: the Bridport Sands, Wessex Basin, UK " 2001-2005) - now at Statoil

Peter Sixsmith, PDRA ("Brent Group reservoir study: transgressive, shallow-marine Tarbert Formation, UK North Sea" 2000-2003; "Outcrop characterisation of a transgressive sandstone reservoir analogue: Hosta Sandstone, New Mexico, USA" 2003-2005) - now at Chevron Energy Technology Company


Peter Fitch, Imperial College London, Reservoir characterisation and modelling

William Helland-Hansen, University of Bergen, Characterisation of stratigraphic architecture

Peter Allison, Imperial College London, Palaeo-oceanographic modelling

Joep Storms, Univerity of Delft, Modelling of stratigraphic architecture

Howard Johnson, Imperial College London, Reservoir characterisation and modelling

Matthew Jackson, Imperial College London, Reservoir characterisation and modelling

Chris Jackson, Imperial College London, Seismic analysis of depositional systems

Guest Lectures

Allan P. Bennison Distinguished Lecturer, AAPG (Africa Region), 2016

Lower and Middle Jurassic reservoirs ("Petroleum geology of the North Sea" course), Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB), Aberdeen, 2013

Research Staff


Research Student Supervision

Brewer,C, Constraining reservoir distribution by linking stratigraphic architecture and sediment mass balance

Le Blevec,T, Geostatistical quantification of facies relationships in reservoir models

Rood,MP, Geological constraints on rapid reservoir modelling

Onyenanu,GI, Characterization and modeling of heterogeneity in thinly bedded, shallow-marine sandstone reservoirs

Dean,CD, Evaluating preservation and environmental impacts on biodiversity in epicontinental seas