Advisory Group for Economic Affairs

Our geoscientifically educated group is familiar with the structure, composition and use of the deep (> 500m) subsurface of the Netherlands. Founded as the in-house advisor to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the group focuses primarily on this domain in order to help implement the Mining Law. This concerns the exploration and production of minerals (oil, gas and mineral salt) and geothermal heat as well as subsurface storage options.

3D subsurface model of a natural gas field

Our experts generally have a (petroleum) geological, geophysics or physics background. The group's specialist knowledge and wide experience cover the:

  • geological character and composition of the deep subsurface of the Netherlands
  • characterisation of the deep subsurface on both a project scale (e.g., geothermal heat site or natural gas field) and a regional scale
  • performance and dynamic behaviour of oil and gas fields and thereby the entire portfolio of Dutch oil and gas fields, also in terms of future reuse
  • effects of mining activities such as subsidence and soil vibrations
  • exploration potential of the deep subsurface.

This expertise is used for studies of and advice on contemporary societal themes such as choices relating to mineral and thermal heat production and storage of CO2 and other substances whereby the optimum and efficient use of the deep subsurface is key.

Advisory task

Our main task is to advise the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I) as well as other stakeholders in the public domain (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, SodM, EBN and Gasunie). AGE does not work for the industry. Recurring projects include:

  • collection and quality control of data on Dutch oil and gas fields
  • (partly on this basis) drafting annual forecasts of Dutch natural gas production, including exploration potential; update of the position of national gas reserves
  • monitoring new activities of the oil and gas E&P industry.

Also research relating to:

  • license applications to produce minerals or geothermal heat; we perform 3D
  • subsurface evaluations using high-tech modelling tools
  • subsidence predictions in relation to mineral production (geomechanical modelling) using innovative concepts
  • supporting policy choices regarding new applications (e.g., shale gas and subterranean CO2 storage)
  • spatial planning of the deep subsurface.

Information task Geological Survey

Use of Dutch subsurface (not to scale); deep subsurface is > 500m

A sub-task deriving from the advisory function and our expertise on the Dutch deep subsurface is information provision largely through the Geo-Information Programme that TNO Geological Survey of the Netherlands (GDN) performs for the Dutch government and society. With its knowledge of the data and information of the deep subsurface, AGE assists in the quality control of the DINO database and by nourishing and managing the information portal www.nlog.nl of the Ministry of EL&I. This information has an important function in terms of drafting policy to encourage new activities by lowering the barrier to the availability of as much information as possible.

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