EGU24-3864, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

From hydrocarbons to geothermal energy: a case study from the Dutch subsurface

Annelotte Weert1, Francesco Vinci2,3, David Iacopini1, Paul van der Vegt3, Stefano Tavani1,4, and Kei Ogata1
Annelotte Weert et al.
  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e delle Risorse (DiSTAR), Università degli Studi di Napoli 'Federico II', Napoli, Italy (
  • 2Shell Global Solutions International B.V., The Hague, The Netherlands
  • 3PanTerra Geoconsultants B.V., Leiderdorp, The Netherlands
  • 4Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IGAG), Rome, Italy

The West Netherlands Basin, which has a long history in exploration as a former prosperous hydrocarbon province, is currently a geothermal hotspot. Being exploited since the 1950’s, most of its oil and gas fields are now in their final phase of production. In the past decade, interest shifted to sustainable energy sources. The geothermal industry in the area is developing quickly, helped by the legacy of the hydrocarbon industry: a wealth of publicly available seismic and well data. Currently, the area has 14 realized, and at least 3 projects in the development phase, with the Late Jurassic Nieuwerkerk Formation being the main target.

Conversely to petroleum systems, in which anticlines are the preferential target for hydrocarbon exploration, synclines are the most suitable sites for geothermal exploration. They offer higher temperatures with respect to the limbs and anticlines, and possible remaining hydrocarbons are not expected to be located inside the central portions of the synclines.

The West Netherlands Basin is a former rift basin that developed during the Mesozoic in the framework of the North Sea rift, and subsequently inverted during the Late Cretaceous. The Nieuwerkerk Formation was deposited during the last major rifting phase. Thus, the thickest packages of its fluvial-deltaic deposits are fault-controlled and commonly located in the synclines. The heterogeneity of fluvial reservoirs causes lateral and vertical quality variations in porosity, permeability and net-to-gross ratios. With the hydrocarbon industry focussing on the stratigraphic highs, there is only limited well data available for the central portions of the synclines.

With reprocessed 3D seismic data, our study uses an image processing approach, coupling traditional amplitude mapping with seismic attributes. This will help to reconstruct the evolution of the fluvial architecture of the Nieuwerkerk Formation over time. By tying the seismic with well data, a better prediction of the quality of the sandy bodies per location can be made. These results can be implemented in de-risking geothermal well planning across fluvial reservoirs in inverted rift basins.

How to cite: Weert, A., Vinci, F., Iacopini, D., van der Vegt, P., Tavani, S., and Ogata, K.: From hydrocarbons to geothermal energy: a case study from the Dutch subsurface, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-3864,, 2024.