Induced seismicity

The production and storage of energy sources in the subsurface induces stress in rocks. This can result in vibrations and earthquakes. The Geological Survey of the Netherlands (GDN) advises on current government policies that address this induced seismicity. On top of this, we are contributing to national and international innovation projects relevant to the energy transition. This is because, even after gas production in the Netherlands has been phased out, the deep subsurface will continue to play a major role in our energy supply within the contexts of gas storage and geothermal energy.

Movements in the subsurface

There are many faults in the rocks in the deep subsurface along which movements can take place. To assess the risk of earthquakes, it is important to understand the forces that are affecting rocks, as well as linking those forces to their probability to cause earthquakes. GDN has expertise in both areas, acquired through its research into the deep subsurface for the production of gas, oil, and salt since the 1950s. We are presently a global leader concerning geomechanics and induced seismicity.

Use of the deep subsurface for gas storage

In recent years, we have been gaining knowledge about the seismic consequences of storing gas in former gas fields and salt caverns. This is also needed for the temporary storage of natural gas and renewable energy in the form of hydrogen or the long-term storage of  CO2 , which can lead to pressure and temperature changes in the deep subsurface, resulting in stress on rocks. But many of the consequences of these activities are insufficiently known, creating the need for applied geomechanical research.

Geothermal energy induced pressure and temperature changes

Through our research into one of the energy transition’s most promising developments, the production of geothermal energy , we will also be learning a lot about the deep subsurface in the rest of the country in the years to come. Previously, we were focused on the influence of pressure changes in the deep subsurface. However, today’s challenge lies in understanding the consequences of temperature changes. The production of geothermal energy involves the injection of cold water into the subsurface, which causes contraction in deep rocks.

Safe CO2 storage

The offshore production of oil and gas is increasing our knowledge of the subsurface in the North Sea. We are using this knowledge as a starting point for the offshore storage of CO2 (CCS;  Carbon Capture and Storage). The knowledge we are gaining regarding  CO2 storage  can also be used elsewhere in the world to model the seismic effects of waste water injections and to investigate opportunities for CO2 storage on land in other parts of Europe.

Interested in more information? Please contact Jan ter Heege via the blue ‘mail directly’ button below.

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