Workshop 7

Natural Hydrogen Exploration

Date: Monday 5 June 2023



  • Gabor Tari (OMV Upstream)
  • Reinhard Sachsenhofer (Montanuniversitaet Leoben)
  • Gonzalo Zamora Valcarce (Repsol)


There are several types of plays for natural hydrogen exploration which appear to be very similar to those the oil and gas industry is used to. These include cases where there is a functioning trap, due to effective top seals. Examples can be found in pre-salt traps where hydrogen has been documented as part of existing hydrocarbon accumulations (examples: Dnieper-Donets Basin, Ukraine, and Amadeus Basin, Australia). Another, somewhat unusual trapping has been documented in the first hydrogen field discovery in Mali where the top seal is provided by a set of fractured dolerite dykes saturated with water. In these cases, one expects finite hydrogen resources in place and the critical question becomes the recharge rate for commercial production.

Another group of natural hydrogen targets revolve around mega-seeps (fairy circles, e.g. East European Craton) and smaller, fault-controlled seepages to the surface (e.g. French Pyrenees). These plays have no traps, no seals and, therefore, they do not find a proper analogue in oil and gas exploration workflows. Yet, because these seeps correspond to ongoing charge in a dynamic, truly renewable system, if they represent a steady-state process, one could expect infinite resources via a low-flux hydrogen β€œfarming” process. For commercial hydrogen production in this case, therefore, a totally new technological approach will be required, not existing in the hydrocarbon industry at all.

This workshop is intended to capture the state-of-the-art for hydrogen exploration discussing various case studies, including methodologies applied and technologies involved. Since gold hydrogen exploration is really in its infancy worldwide, this workshop aims to promote collective thinking about the possible ways forward.

natural hydrogen exploration

Participant Profile

  • Geo-energy company geoscientists engaged green energy solutions
  • Academic researchers
  • Low-carbon business developers
  • Governmental regulatory and legislative experts


Workshop Programme

09:00Workshop Introduction
09:10Hydrogen – the race to a cheap and clean energy source – C. Ballantine (Oxford University)
09:30Blend gas and natural hydrogen: a dynamic model of hydrogen accumulation – A. Prinzhofer ( GEO4U)
09:50Natural hydrogen (H2): a new C-free energy source? Perspectives, geochemical uncertainties, the need of a holistic approach – G. Etiope (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome)
10:10Molecular hydrogen from organic sources in geological systems – B. Horsfield (Geos4)
10:30Coffee Break
11:00A review of the state of knowledge and major remaining uncertainties for caprock leakage in hydrogen-brine systems – A. MartΓ­n Monge (REPSOL)
11:20Challenges of mud gas logging in natural H2 exploration – D. Strapoc (SLB)
11:40Gold Hydrogen – A Novel Source of Clean, Natural Hydrogen – A. Dinges (Cemvita)
12:00Discussions and Lunch Break
13:20Could the Banded Iron Formations be the major H2 source in Archean and neo-Proterozoic areas? – I. Moretti (Pau University)
13:40Finding natural Hydrogen and Helium plays and the role of Helium as a co-product – P. Levin (BEAM)
14:00Hydrogen Exploration; risk assessment – G. Zamora (REPSOL)
14:20The Natural Hydrogen System – how success can be achieved through the system and play approach – O. Jackson (H2Au)
14:40Coffee Break
14:50Natural Hydrogen Frontier Exploration workflow: example from the Iberian Peninsula – J. Flinch (Elsevier)
15:10Natural Hydrogen, the Australian way – F. Glass (2H Resources)
15:30Hydrogen ongoing exploration and potential of an oceanic terrain, example of the onshore Sinu area, Northern Colombia – J. Flinch (Elsevier)
15:50Concluding Remarks
16:00End of the Workshop