NLCS: Opportunities to be exploredPetroleum plays in the Netherlands.

NLCS: Opportunities to be explored

Still a lot of hydrocarbons to be discovered in the Dutch part of the North Sea.

The Southern North Sea is believed to be a mature basin. However, there are still a lot of hydrocarbons to be discovered, according to Energie Beheer Nederland B.V (EBN).

There is a necessity to explore for gas offshore the Netherlands, as gas will remain the most flexible and reliable fuel supporting the energy transition.  Therefore, further exploration is key.

EBN is 100 percent owned by the Dutch state, executing parts of the climate and energy policy on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK).

Annemiek Asschert, Deputy Programme Manager Advice & Innovation, EBN.

Being the Dutch state participant in Oil & Gas, the role of the EBN staff is to deploy their knowledge, expertise and financial strength to facilitate an accelerated transition to a future-proof and sustainable energy supply system.

”Our Dutch gas” is one of the three priorities of EBN, and exploration for new hydrocarbons plays an important role in this process”, says Annemiek Asschert, Deputy Programme Manager Advice & Innovation, EBN.

A highly diverse portfolio of different hydrocarbons plays is present in the Dutch subsurface, according to Asschert, who gave a talk on the exploration potential of the Dutch sector at APPEX 2020, in London, March 3-5.

The Netherlands with leads, colored by play type, in the Dutch Northern offshore as identified by EBN.

The Netherlands is a gas dominated country with several proven play-types present. Thick Permian Zechstein salt present in a large part of the subsurface provides an effective seal between the Paleozoic gas system and the mixed oil and gas bearing Mesozoic hydrocarbon system.

The most attractive reservoir in the Netherlands is formed by Early Permian, Rotliegend sandstones but other proven reservoirs ranging in age from Carboniferous to Quaternary are present as well.

Several new opportunities have been identified beyond the well-established fairways, as shown in the uppermost figure.

EBN encourages exploration activity in underexplored areas by carrying out and financing studies, and by facilitating and sharing data and knowledge. Creating more value from assets often requires new, innovative ideas.

Hence, EBN is participating in research on various topics, but also carries out independent studies, partly in-house and partly outsourced to contractors.

The Dutch business case offers low-cost exploration at relatively high success rates, with full government support.

Low cost development is possible in the shallow waters with small low-cost platforms and there is a guaranteed downstream offtake with a mature infrastructure and service industry present.

A license can be applied for at any time.

EBN states that many attractive opportunities for economic quantities of gas still remain to be found offshore the Netherlands.

Most subsurface data older than 5 years is now digitally available and can be downloaded free of charge. Studies and analyses of the subsurface data are also available for free.

For more information, EBN can be contacted at