On 2 February 2023, the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) organised the webinar ‘Natural Hydrogen in the Monzón-1 Well, Ebro Basin, Northern Spain‘.
The presenter of the webinar was Christopher Atkinson. He has over 35 years’ experience in the energy sector working for both major companies and developing and arranging finance for his own and associates ventures. The host of the session was Nikolaos Koukouzas, Coordinator of the EFG Panel of Experts on CO2 & Hydrogen Geological Storage.
The presence of natural molecular hydrogen found as a gas in the subsurface has been documented in many locations throughout the world (Zgonnik, 2020). In deference to man-made ‘green’ or ‘blue’ hydrogen naturally occurring hydrogen gas in the sub-surface has been termed either ‘white’ or ‘gold’ hydrogen (Ball and Czado, 2022). Given the extremely lightweight and highly reactive nature of hydrogen, its occurrence as a free molecule in nature is rare and requires specific subsurface conditions to be met:
- A source of natural hydrogen generation (biogenic, chemical, or radioactive),
- A reservoir rock,
- An impermeable ‘cap rock or seal’ to prevent hydrogen leakage via diffusion, and
- The absence of oxygen as this will react with the hydrogen creating water and leaving no trace hydrogen gas was ever present.
Significant hydrogen gas shows were documented in 1963 from the Triassic Bunter Sandstone interval in the Monzón-1 exploration well drilled in the Ebro Basin of northern Spain. The Bunter Sandstone reservoir lies on a well-defined basement closure and is sealed by a thick sequence of evaporite bearing Bunter shales at a depth greater than 3500 metres below the ground surface. The geology documented in the Monzón-1 well perfectly matches the sub-surface conditions thought to be required for the entrapment and concentration of natural gold hydrogen. Despite good petrophysical indications of trapped gas presence, the well was not flow tested at the time of drilling. The intriguing conclusion is that an accumulation of gold hydrogen awaits re-discovery and it is Helios Aragon’s plan to do just that and re-drill and test the Monzón structure.
-Ball, P.J., and Czado, K., 2022. Natural hydrogen: the new frontier, Geoscientist, Online Resource, accessed 05/04/2022, https://geoscientist.online/sections/unearthed/natural-hydrogen-the-new-frontier
-Zgonnik V., 2020. The occurrence and geoscience of natural hydrogen: A comprehensive review, Earth Science Reviews, 203, 103140, 51pp.
Watch the recording of the webinar at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxE4pQhgonI
He was the co-founder of pda Limited which went on to become Serica Energy plc in 2004 and was also a founding investor in several other successful E&P start-up ventures between 2006-2016. In 2018 Christopher co-founded Helios Aragon which is exploring for natural or ‘gold’ hydrogen/helium gas in Spain and other countries.
He currently serves as a non-executive director of Rex International Holdings (SGX ‘REXI’) and as a board member for their subsidiary companies Lime Petroleum in Norway and Masirah Oil in Oman. In 2020 he was elected to the board of Far East Gold (ASX ‘FEG’) which is an eco-focused miner exploring for gold/copper in Indonesia.
Christopher has a highly successful track record of building and financing start up energy and resource ventures with multi-fold returns to the shareholders. He holds both a BSc and PhD in Geology from the University of Wales, Swansea, UK