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ABSTRACT: Exploring for Hydrocarbons in Urban and Industrial Settings: A Case History from the Rotterdam Harbor Area, Netherlands

Rob Hupje

The area of the vast Rotterdam harbor forms part of NAM's (Shell 50%, Exxon 50%) Rijswijk concession held since 1955. Exploring for hydrocarbons in this region is increasingly complicated amidst expanding harbor facilities, industrial zones, housing districts, and numerous glasshouses.

By the end of the 1950s, recoverable reserves in the concession were about 200 × 106 bbl of oil and 2.0 × 109 m3 (^sim 70 bcf) of gas, found in Jurassic/Cretaceous clastics. Exploration from 1960-1980 continued with seismic acquisition, but no further discoveries were made.

A 1980 seismic review, however, indicated additional conventional leads but also resulted in the first delineation of an important new play concept for the deep underlying Triassic reservoirs. A successful well in 1982 confirmed this play concept and sparked off an upsurging new exploration campaign, greatly assisted by three-dimensional seismic, combining Previous HitairNext Hit Previous HitgunTop, Vibroseis, and dynamite sources in the various subareas of Rotterdam. Several sizeable discoveries, such as Rotterdam l, Botlek l, and Pernis West l followed. Reflecting the strong planning constraints, Pernis West was drilled, following the removal of part of a storage tank farm.

These recent successes have so far more than doubled the reserves of the late fifties. The above reflects a striking achievement through close interaction of new geological concepts, modern seismic methods, and imaginative operational approaches.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990