The funding is part of a package of measures announced by the Prime Minister to support the UK oil and gas industry and boost future exploration in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) as part of OGA’s Frontier Basins Research effort.

The University’s School of Geosciences has a strong reputation for petroleum geology research along the Atlantic Margin, and the funding will allow geoscientists to apply the knowledge they have developed to assess prospects for exploration in the Rockall Basin.

Dr Nick Schofield from the Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology will be working with Professors David Jolley, John Howell, Adrian Hartley and Dr David Muirhead as part of the research effort.

Dr Schofield said: ""Rockall remains a truly frontier area of hydrocarbon exploration in the UKCS. It is a geologically challenging area, but decoding the geology and petroleum system is what makes it exciting to work on.

"The £250,000 grant from the Oil and Gas Authority will support research that will fully evaluate the potential for hydrocarbon prospectivity in Rockall, supporting a two year full-time Post-doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) position which will undertake the Rockall Basin study as part of OGA’s inaugural ‘Frontier Basins’ research initiative.

"The funding will allow us to apply the innovative knowledge and science we have developed in other areas of the Atlantic Margin to Rockall, and we are grateful to OGA and the UK Government for their support.

"Importantly, the award is paired with a similar award to Professor John Underhill at Heriot-Watt University, working on the Mid North Sea High area of the Central North Sea. Both members of the Aberdeen and Heriot-Watt research groups will be working closely and sharing expertise across both areas to maximize the impact of both projects.

"This collaborative effort brings together a collection of experienced, respected industry facing academics, with a passion for the future energy security of the UK."

University of Aberdeen Principal, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said: "I am delighted that the University has been selected by the Oil and Gas Authority to receive this funding, which is testament to our position as a leading university in energy research.

"Our geoscientists already play a leading role in applied petroleum geology research in the new frontier areas of the UKCS, and it is their accumulated expertise and knowledge that has been key in attracting this funding.

"Through the Aberdeen City Deal the University of Aberdeen is committed to playing a major role in the innovation landscape within the region and beyond, working with Government, industry and the local community to aid exploration and production in the UKCS."

Dr Nick Richardson, OGA’s Head of Exploration and New Ventures said: "I am extremely pleased that the OGA has been able to support these awards.

"The post-doctoral research projects will be run and overseen by globally-recognised technical experts, and the University of Aberdeen team, led by Dr Nick Schofield, is ideally-placed to improve the fundamental geological understanding of the Rockall Basin Area and help stimulate vital exploration activity."