History of the GESGB

The Geoscience Energy Society of Great Britain (GESGB) and its previous incarnation Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB), has been operating since 1964 and is still going strong today. 
Here is a look back at the history of the society, a brief history of the Oil and Gas industry and a timeline of significant events.

History of GESGB- Timeline

History of oil in UK 

December 1964

The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain was founded


First Council: R Dyk, N J Bentley-Llewellyn, H Karren, B M Barlow. D W Williams, W D Gill

Membership around 40

First lectures held at Westbury Hotel– moved to the Geological Society Lecture Theatre

First field trip– organised by BP– led by Prof. Simpson of Exeter University—to the Dorset/Devon coast

Constitution of The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain

Founding Council & Westbury Hotel 


First copy of the directory and newsletter (on record)

18 Sustaining Members


Earliest lecture on record October 2nd: ‘The Significance of Colour Displays in the Direct and Indirect Location of Hydrocarbons’ given by Mr N.A Anstey of Seiscom


First ‘Barbican/PGC Conference (co-organised with GSL, IGS and IP)- attended by 1000 delegates


First Honorary members appointed


Joint Association for Petroleum Education Courses established (jointly with Geological Society & Imperial College)

Lectures by Bob Stoneley & Ken Glennie


Ninety Aberdeen members

First Aberdeen Director Elected- Veronica Emery of University of Aberdeen

Aberdeen lectures began January: Dr. D Naylor of Northgate Exploration Ltd; ‘New Developments in Irish Offshore Petroleum Exploration.’


1600 members

First permanent staff and office established- Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1V 9AG

Karen Whitehead first PESGB Executive Director


Became a registered charity

First PETEX Conference- ‘Computers in Exploration Interpretation’

PETEX is now the major U.K. geoscience exhibition showcasing the latest advances in petroleum technology


PETEX 1989 Pamphlet (EXAMPLE)


Bob Dyk (shortly before he died in 1991)

“It is pleasing to me to see that over the years the Society has gone from strength to strength and has retained its simple concepts. It is, I believe the largest locally based exploration group in the world, excepting possibly Houston. Congratulations to you all.”


Moved offices to Second Floor, Dover Street, London, W1X 3PB


PESGB celebrates its 30th birthday- A book ‘Tales from Early UK Oil Exploration 1960-1979’ is made to recognise the work of the PESGB and the history of the Oil and Gas Industry in the U.K.

PETEX 1994 


Surrey Regional Branch of PESGB was founded

Gathered in the White House pub in Guildford

White House Pub, Guilford


First PESGB Special Interest Group founded: Africa

June: one day West Africa Conference

New PESGB logo launched


Data Management SIG founded

Geophysics SIG founded


Gail Williamson becomes PESGB Executive Director

First website created to inform the general public and members of the activity of the society


Joint Association for Petroleum Education Courses ends

Moved offices to 2nd Floor, 41/48 Kent House, 87 Regent Street, London, W1B 4EH

Office staff after the move to Regent Street


PETEX 2002 opened by Prince Andrew, Duke of York

Africa SIG joined links with the Houston Geological Society


First ‘U.K. Prospect Expo’ held

PROSPEX is now held every year

Original intent: to give fledging oil companies a forum to market their prospects

PROSPEX 2017 was attended by over 700 delegates


PESGB celebrates its 40 birthday

Moved offices to 5th Floor, 9 Berkley Street, London, W1J 8DW


Sub Committee for Investment and Disbursements founded- initiated by Doug Fenwick to provide educational benefit to PESGB members and the general public


PETEX 2006 at which rugby star Austin Healy was a guest


Africa Conference organised in Cape Town, South Africa


MSc Sponsorships formalised

A way to actively encourage education in the earth sciences

Involved with the Earth Science Teachers Association– supports their annual conference: a Virtual Seismic Atlas project

PETEX 2008

Geophysical 2008


Marion Scott becomes PESGB Executive Director


Stoneley lectures

The Lecture programme has been named after Professor Bob Stoneley (1929- 2008), eminent geologist, passionate earth science educator and a Past President and Honorary Member of PESGB.

In the spirit of ‘education for the public benefit’

Young Professional Special Interest Group founded

A group for PESGB members with 10 years or less experience in the industry


Guy Elliot becomes PESGB Executive Director

Website was updated to the current format it is in today

Africa Conference 2011



Stonely Lecture 2013 with speaker Hugh Dennis


PESGB celebrates its 50th birthday

Moved offices to 7th Floor, ONE Croydon, 12-16 Addiscombe Road, Croydon CR0 0XT


Maria Iredale becomes PESGB Executive Director

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Regional Branch founded

Houston Regional Branch founded


With over 3000 members the PESGB is still as active as ever and fulfilling the vision the founders set out

Frequent evening lectures still on-going

Africa E&P Conference September 2018; PETEX November 2018; PROSPEX December 2018