Clay Mineralogy and its application to the oil industry

1 Oct 2019 9am - 4 Oct 2019 5pm

The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, AB15 8QH, Scotland

Oil rig

A course delivered by James Hutton Institute specialist staff with contributions by honorary associate Tony Fraser.

This course was designed for the oil industry to help understand the nature, properties, behaviour and occurrence of clays in the context of hydrocarbon exploration and production and to demonstrate in a practical way how clay minerals can be identified and characterised using the primary analytical techniques of X-ray powder diffraction, infrared spectroscopy and electron microscopy. Many people from other industries have attended the course (for example, from the bentonite industry) and found the content applies to them also.

Since 2011 courses have run successfully annually or biannually. 

Module 1

  • The Importance of Clays in the Oil Industry
  • Introduction to the Chemistry and Mineralogy of Clays
  • Principles of X-Ray Powder Diffraction
  • Tour of X-Ray Labs
  • Separation and Preparation of Clays for XRD Analysis; Practical

Module 2

  • Chemistry and Mineralogy of Kaolinite, Illite and Smectite Minerals
  • Chemistry and Mineralogy of Chlorite and Mixed Layer Minerals
  • Principles of Infrared Spectroscopy and Clay Analysis
  • Principles of Scanning Electron Microscopy and Clay Analysis
  • Tour of IR and SEM Labs
  • Measurement and Analysis of Clay XRD Patterns; Practical

Module 3

  • Fundamental Concepts in Geology
  • Geology of Clays
  • Infrared Analysis of Clay Minerals; Practical
  • Quantitative Analysis of Clay Materials by XRD; Practical
  • Module 4

Module 4

  • Particle Size, Surface Area and Morphology of Clays
  • Physicochemical properties of Clays
  • Clay Interactions with Water and Organics
  • Clay Minerals and Drilling Fluids
  • Clay Analysis and Assessment of Formation Damage by SEM; Practical

Module 5

  • Clay Mineralogy and Shale Instability
  • Clay Mineralogy and Reservoir Quality
  • Round Table Discussion
  • Tour of Other Associated Labs

To find out more or register an interest to attend, please contact us.

For more about Clays and Minerals at the James Hutton Institute, visit

Steve Hillier
Head of XRPD
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Steve Hillier is a world leader in Quantitative X-Ray powder diffraction.  Author of 132 publications, Steve collaborates widely both nationally and internationally and is a former chairman of the Mineralogical Society, Clay Minerals Group.  In 2018 and 2008, Steve was awarded the Clay Minerals Society’s ‘Reynolds Cup’ for excellence in quantitative clay mineralogy.

Evelyne Delbos
Head of Electron Microscopy
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Evelyne is a petroleum geologist by training. Over her career in the Oil and Gas Industry, Evelyne has developed a particular interest in the understanding of mineral relationships at microscopic level.

Jean Roberston
Head of FTIR
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Jean has over 20 years’ experience in FTIR spectroscopy and provides highly specialised spectral interpretation for numerous commercial and research clients.