DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF PETROLEUMHYDROGEOLOGY IN THE NETHERLANDS
Tóth's hydraulic theory of petroleum migration (Tóth, 1980) triggered the author's interest in the interaction between large-scale groundwater flow systems and petroleum systems. In 1986, the author started the very first research in the Netherlands involving the analysis of fluid flow systems on geological timescales. This research aimed to assess the applicability of hydrogeological knowledge and methods for oil and gas exploration purposes in onshore and offshore Netherlands. First results included an outline of the Cenozoic hydrogeohistory of onshore and offshore Netherlands and a preliminary assessment of the present-day patterns of petroleum migration in relation to this Cenozoic hydrogeohistory (Verweij 1989, 1990, 1993).
In 1995 started a comprehensive regional analysis of fluid flow systems in relation to geological processes that operated in onshore and offshore Netherlands from the Carboniferous to present-day (Verweij 1999, 2003; Verweij and Simmelink 2002). The approach followed in this research built on Tóth's recognition of the role of groundwater as a general geologic agent (Tóth, 1966, 1971, 1984, 1999).
Recognition of the role of fluid flow systems analysis for petroleum-related studies led to the start of TNO-CSIRO Petroleum joint industry projects (2002 2007) for Dutch E&P operators. Results of this project include a comprehensive fully quality-controlled pressure and geological database of about 700 wells and hydrodynamic analysis and interpretation of the pressure data (pressure maps, hydraulic head maps, salinity maps, improved hydrogeological characterization of the subsurface; e.g. Simmelink et al. 2005). Now fluid flow systems approach is an integral part of the detailed mapping program of the offshore Netherlands (2006-2010) executed by TNO.
Selected case studies will illustrate the application of regional fluid flow systems analysis and petroleumhydrogeology in the Netherlands, including topics such as dual hydraulic behaviour of faults and top seals, and hydrodynamics and tilted gas-water-contacts.