Geoff Townson - Visual Artist

About the Geologist

1963-65: UK West Sussex, Worthing: A-levels Geology, Zoology, Chemistry.  Field trips to South Wales, North Wales & Iceland.

1965-68: UK London, Kings College: B Sc Hons Geology (incl. 2 years Hons Zoology) & AKC (Theology). Field work Eire (Donegal), France & Switzerland, southern UK.

1968-71: UK Oxford, Dept Geology & Mineralogy & New College: Doctorate (D Phil) on Upper Jurassic UK & N France.
1971-72: The Netherlands: Recruited by Shell as an International Oil & Gas Exploration Geologist. Five months training - well & refinery sites, fieldwork, laboratory work, courses on a range of business and exploration & production subjects.
1972-76: UK London, Shell Centre: Shell Expro's first dedicated wellsite geologist. This took me to offshore Shetlands and the second exploration well on the Brent oil & gas field (I cut the first cores), the discovery well of Cormorant oilfield and several others in the Northern & Central North Sea. Fieldwork in Dorset, NE Scotland and Orkneys.  Published a paper on my thesis in Journal of the Geol Soc Lond.
1976-80: Brunei Borneo: Exploration Geologist Shell Brunei which included onshore fieldwork, drilling and offshore interpretation, plus field trips in Sabah & Sarawak, climbing Mt Kinabalu, visiting Niah Caves and location work with David Bellamy making the TV series Botanic Man. Published another paper on my thesis.  Family holidays included New Zealand, Malaysia & USA.
1980-85: Perth Western Australia: Chief Geologist Shell Australia. This included drilling Pre-Cambrian in the middle of nowhere, as well as Bass Strait discoveries and great trips (e.g. Shark Bay, Officer Basin, Surat Basin, Gippsland Basin and every state capital except Darwin). Published a paper on the Officer Basin, WA.
1985-90: The Netherlands The Hague: Shell International Area Geologist for Mediterranean, S Asia, M East & Africa, which involved visits to France, Italy, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Greece, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Pakistan, China, Nigeria & Gabon - as well as field work in the UAE, France, Spain, Eire and USA. Loads of internal reports and presentations.
1990-95: UK London Shell-Mex House: Shell UK Business Development Manager. Acquisition & Divestment of oil & gas assets North Sea. Lots of taxi rides, data rooms, business lunches, conferences... loads of internal reports and presentations.
1996-2000: The Netherlands The Hague: Shell International Senior Management: Business Development Coordinator Oil (Major Resource-holding Countries). Many visits to Kuwait, Iran, USA & Ecuador - evaluating and securing oil & gas assets & operations. Also negotiated retirement one year early.
2001-2009: CEO of a Hampshire Council
2012 to present: 
   U3A Heritage Coast Lyme Regis: Geology Course Leader 2012-19 
   U3A Heritage Coast Lyme Regis: Drawing Tutor 2017-18  
   Drawing & Painting Tutor 2018-20 (my Charmouth studio - not U3A)

  Walks & Desk Volunteer - Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre
   Contributor to Dorset Building Stone website

Publically available publications
1971: Facies Analysis of the Portland Beds. D. Phil. Thesis, Univ. Oxford 284pp.   Available via this link (2 pdf files):-
          Download here:

1974: The Geology of Coombe Valley, near Weymouth. Proc. Dorset Nat. Hist. & Arch. Soc. Vol 95, p. 7-8 
           Download here: Townson - Coombe Valley.pdf  

1975: Lithostratigraphy and deposition of the type Portlandian. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. Vol 131, p.619-638
          Download here:
1976: Discussion of Portlandian faunas, J. Geol. Soc. Lond Vol 132, p. 335-336
          Download here: Townson Portlandian faunas.pdf
1979: The Portlandian strata of the Bas Boulonnais, France, Proc. Geol. Assoc. Vol 90, Pt 2 p.81-91
          Download here:
1985: The Subsurface Geology of the Western Officer Basin - Results of Shell's 1980-1984 Petroleum Exploration Campaign, The APEA Journal, Vol 25 Pt 1 p.34-51
Dr W G Townson, D Phil B Sc AKC C Geol FGS
(Chartered Geologist, Fellow of the Geological Society)