Hydrogen Exploration - Is it a new game changer?

Trainer(s): Jürgen Grötsch
Duration: 1 day or 5-days combined with 4-day Geo-Energy class. For more information on Geo-Energy course details on

Business context

The energy transition and the drive towards net-zero emissions as per the Paris 2015 agreement has resulted in significant efforts to develop new sustainable energy resources. Since 2022, security of energy supply has become an additional focus area.

In order to change the present-day energy system towards net zero emissions, alternative energy resources need to be developed replacing wood, coal, oil and gas. One of the recent new findings in the Geo-Energy sector is that hydrogen can be found in many places around the globe as natural seeps, similar to what has been observed for oil and gas since many centuries.

Reasons for the lack of interest in natural hydrogen exploration (and development) are multi-fold, like nobody considered natural H2 as a viable option, hydrogen cannot be detected easily, biogenic and geogenic H2 cannot be differentiated, other energy resources were available in large quantities and at low cost, lack of economic value proposition to explore for it and rapid diffusion of H2 due to its' molecular size, and possibly more.

However, many indications point towards a major clean energy resource of the future considering that in the last few years some 300 natural H2 seeps have been reported, exponentially rising. One of the most famous ones is the eternal fires of Chimaera in southern Turkey, know to burn already for more than 2500 years.

Another indicator for the future potential of natural H2 as an energy resource is the still unexplained natural phenomena of so-called "fairy circles" which are often related to high H2 concentrations at surface. In the meantime, the first H2 exploration companies have formed and the first wells targeting H2 have been drilled. Even a first long-term production test is ongoing in Nebraska since Q1 2023.

The objective of this course is to introduce natural hydrogen as a potential future clean energy resource and how to explore for it as it may become the next game changer in the energy industry providing a clean and sustainable solution for part of the global energy demand.

Who should attend

This course has been designed for geoscientists and energy professionals who are working on energy transition projects and optimizing the portfolio herein. Natural hydrogen is a yet unproven opportunity in such a portfolio.

The course is recommended for graduate students, staff from the energy industry, as well as employees of the public sector and from regulators. It is of particular interest for investors and decision makers who need to set directions and priorities in the energy transition.

Basic understanding of geosciences is helpful but not required.

Course content

This course provides an overview on hydrogen as an energy resource and the various colors of hydrogen. However, natural (white) hydrogen was until now not considered in the developments around the future energy system.

This course highlights the current status of knowledge and latest developments around such a potential new energy opportunity, ie natural H2 exploration and production as part of the future energy mix. If further developments turn out to be successful, this could result in another unexpected game changer in the energy sector. similar to the unconventional revolution a few decades back. However, further research and investments in exploration are required to conclusively provide answer on size of the prize and feasibility of development of such a new energy resource.

The training course has the following goals:
• Provide an introduction to the global energy system
• Introduce the role of different colors of hydrogen
• Present a global overview of current hydrogen production and consumption
• Showcase hydrogen development projects
• Provide an overview of natural hydrogen seeps globally
• Introduce the concept of hydrogen exploration
• Understand the main subsurface uncertainties in hydrogen exploration
• Discuss the key challenges and risks of hydrogen exploration and development
• Address the role of geoscientists in developing hydrogen as a future energy resource
• Provide an outlook for trends and expected developments in the global energy market

Learning, methods and tools

This is an on-site course comprising a mixture of lectures, exercises, case studies, discussions and feedback sessions. The course follows the discover, ask and learn approach. The course can also be provided as online version, if required.

Day by day programme

Part 1 - Overview of hydrogen in the global energy system
Part 2 - Introduction to the multiple colors of hydrogen
Part 3 - Examples of natural hydrogen seeps
Part 4 - Exploration and Development of natural hydrogen
Part 5 - Outlook on opportunities and risks in hydrogen exploration and development