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November 2009

Underground Gas Storage - Worldwide Experiences and Future Development in the UK and Europe-  Geological Society Special Publication No.313

D J Evans and R A Chadwick (eds)
Published by: The Geological Society of London
Publication date: July, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-86239-272-4 (hbk)
List price: £90.00; GSL member price: £45.00
360 pp 

SP313Underground Gas Storage (UGS) is currently a hot geopolitical topic. With the current energy climate, rising concerns regarding security of energy supply and environmental degradation, this publication is most timely.

The continuing gas supply and transit dispute between Russia and Ukraine has obvious implications for the rest of Europe’s gas consumers. The average European country's natural gas storage capacity is of the order of 20% of annual demand, compared to the UK's total capacity of less than 5%. By 2010 it is predicted that up to 40% of UK gas supply could be imported and by 2015 up to 80%. This is due to a decline in indigenous gas supplies, principally from the North Sea, coupled with an increase in demand. In order to ensure future security of supply, in terms of availability and reliability, a diversity of supply sources and UK entry points, and the ability to store large quantities of gas are essential. In the event of supply disruption, lack of storage would leave the UK in a particularly vulnerable position.

Energy security has also raised the possibility of a new generation of coal-fired power stations, which in order to be environmentally sustainable will require near zero CO2 emissions. A key element in achieving this goal will be carbon capture and underground storage. This book reviews the technologies and issues associated with storage of natural gas and CO2 by means of case studies and examples from the UK and overseas. The potential for underground storage of hydrogen and of compressed air energy (linked to renewable energy) is also reviewed.

Geological storage options for gases underground are clearly explained, together with the associated geomechanical, environmental, community safety and public confidence issues. The editors have succeeded in pulling together, from the various contributing authors, a series of very cogent and high quality contributions on all these issues. The book is well produced with good supporting figures and diagrams.

This publication is highly recommended as an essential primer on underground gas storage for geologists and other professional practitioners, as well as for those with a general interest in this extremely important field of geoscience.

Martin Broderick
Golder Associates, Oxford

Petrology of Sedimentary Rocks (Second Edition)

S Boggs Jr
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-521-89716-7 (hbk)
List price: £50.00 (also available as an e-book)
600 pp

BoggsThis book is the Second Edition of a text originally published by Macmillan in 1992. Like its predecessor, it focuses on the properties of sedimentary rocks rather than on sedimentary processes and modern sediments. As such, it is intended mainly for use by undergraduate and graduate geology students taking courses in sedimentary petrology, and by researchers and professional petroleum geoscientists who wish to develop an understanding of the petrographic characteristics of sedimentary rocks and their geological significance.

The new edition follows the same fundamental structure as the original, and has 13 chapters grouped into four parts. Part I, entitled Principles and consisting of a single chapter, provides a very brief summary (16 pages) of the origin, classification and occurrence of sedimentary rocks. Part II deals with siliciclastic rocks and contains chapters dealing with sedimentary textures, sedimentary structures, sandstones, conglomerates, mudstones and shales, the provenance of siliciclastic sedimentary rocks, and diagenesis of sandstones and shales. Part III deals with carbonate rocks and contains chapters on limestones, dolomites and the diagenesis of carbonate rocks. Part IV consists of two chapters, one dealing with evaporites, cherts, ironstones and phosphorites, and the other with carbonaceous sedimentary rocks. Each chapter ends with a list of further reading. There is also an extensive reference list and a useful index at the end of the book.

Some of the original text and illustrative material has been re-used, but the discussion has been substantially modified to take account of new analytical techniques developed since the First Edition. However, there are no references to published work after 2006, and relatively few post-2004.

Overall, this book continues to provide a useful introduction to sedimentary petrology that complements the author's companion work Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4th edition published by Pearson Prentice Hall in 2004). The text is generally well written and logically structured. There are numerous black and white line diagrams and photographs, although the information value of quite a number of the latter is limited by their small size (9cm x 6cm). No use is made of colour - a significant limitation in the case of many of the photomicrographs and some field photographs. However, the paper and print quality are good and the hardback edition offers very good value for money. The book should be an essential purchase for libraries in all higher education institutions offering geology courses, and for researchers and industry professionals with practical interests in sedimentary petrology.

Ken Pye
Kenneth Pye Associates Ltd

Exploring Indonesia 1902-1911: Adventures of geologist Johannes Wanner

(Translated and edited by) Antonia and George Boyden
Published by: Pen Press
Publication date: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-906710-71-2
List price: £9.99
128 pp

BoydenJohannes Wanner was one of the giants of Indonesian geology. Not only did he make important contributions to our understanding of its regional and economic geology, but his extensive collections of Permian and Triassic fossils from Timor were key elements in the early recognition of the magnitude of the end-Permian extinction event. For all of these reasons, the diaries he kept during his three expeditions to the archipelago should make fascinating reading. Moreover, we are told, on the back cover of this translation, that it includes “moments of suspense and high drama as he encounters violent storms and hostile tribesmen, and in his terrifying fights for life in bouts of malaria and typhoid”.

Unfortunately, the book rather fails to live up to the expectations raised. Whatever his merit as a palaeontologist, Wanner was no great hand at setting a scene, painting a picture or describing an event. Suspense is notably lacking, and his various illnesses and setbacks are treated with a sang-froid that, while admirable and very much of its time, does not make for an exciting read. Much of the book is a litany: his having travelled here, waited there, and been impeded by swamps, sinking canoes and vicious insects somewhere else. Some of the events must have been truly horrifying, possibly terrifying; but it requires a real stretch of imagination to appreciate either. Nor is there much for the geologist, geological material having presumably been reserved for the author’s many reports and monographs. All too typical is the entry in which Wanner notes that he “… came upon a geologist’s paradise, and … returned with our pack horses heavily loaded with fossils”, without indicating in any way what those fossils might have been.

Historically, the book provides a few interesting insights. The brief mention of fighting between the Dutch and Portuguese in Timor testifies to what must have been one of the 20th century’s least known wars. The brevity of effective Dutch rule in many parts of its Indonesian empire is also emphasised. A mere 30 years elapsed between Wanner’s final expedition, when Aceh, the interior of Borneo (where head-hunting was evidently commonplace) and much of the east were still virtually uncontrolled, and the loss of the entire area to the Japanese in World War II. As a result, conditions on some of the islands in the 1970s differed little from those recorded by Wanner. There is interest here, but perhaps chiefly for those that have followed the same paths in more recent decades.

John Milsom