The availability of natural gas in the Dutch subsurface has boosted the economy of the Netherlands for decades. Nowadays the production of natural gas from conventional sources is rapidly declining while demand is ever increasing. Indeed, it is expected that within five years the Netherlands will become a net importer of gas. Many other EU countries, having far less conventional gas of their own, are already faced with reliance on imports from Russia. Read more...

tectonic models

This project aims to build unifying scenarios for temperature (basin heat flow), burial, exhumation and stress-deformation history of gas shale formations in the Netherlands, which can be used for basin modelling, for in-situ stress modelling and for the pre-drill assessment of geomechanical properties and fractures. As input, public datasets from the mapping of the subsurface of the Netherlands by TNO will be used.

Deliverables of the project are:

  • 4D geomodel, constrained VR and AFT and temperature data. Scenarios for regional heat flow and lithosphere deformation responsible for observed vertical motions
  • Rheological reconstruction and scenarios for (paleo)stress
  • Analogue (sandbox) deformation models of past stress field and deformation at selected time intervals (including present day)
  • Analysis of the effect of reconstructed temperature/stress/deformation time-paths on regional interpretation of mechanical properties and natural fractures, for various shale formations, and its effect on productivity (in close co-operation with other projects in the WP

Since the project started in April 2014, we have performed an extensive analysis of the existing geophysical and geological data on the basis of which we developed a new hypothesis on the origin of the structural grain and its control on later tectonic processes. The same analysis has led to a new crustal terrain map.

Since then, the focus was on the implications of regional partitioning on crustal rheology on stress and deformation and the application of these regional insights to the Southern North Sea and its subbasins. These data in combination with the thermal data will form the basis for the temperature reconstructions, the analysis of sweet spots and the further assessment of field scale implications.

Tectonics and sedimentary basins

Smit, J., van Wees, J. D., & Cloetingh, S. (2016). The Thor suture zone: From subduction to intraplate basin setting. Geology, 44(9), 707–710.

Smit, J., van Wees, J. D., & Cloetingh, S. (2018). Early Carboniferous extension in East Avalonia: 350 My record of lithospheric memory. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 92(July 2017), 1010–1027.