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Clay mineralogy and its applications to the oil industry

1 to 4 October 2019, 9am to 5pm
at James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen AB15 8QH
for oil and gas professionals or anyone interested in clays
Clay suspension (c) James Hutton Institute

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

This course is 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 diffractioninfrared 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

  • 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

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.