Our work

Gas Shales in Focus

Worldwide shale gas resources are estimated at more than 450 Tm3. The European subsurface includes prominent black shale horizons, which may also act as gas shales. A significant shale gas potential for Europe is assumed to be about 14 Tm3. So far no compilation of gas shale data on a European scale exists.

Shale gas is one of the big unconventional leads. In 2005 6% of the natural gas produced in the USA came from gas shales. The US Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2030 about half of the natural gas produced will come from unconventional sources. This major exploration potential also exists in Europe. The GASH project was set up to study European gas shales and to evaluate their potential. It is subdivided into three parts: two research components with several studies on regional and reservoir scale and setting up a database to compile all information on gas shales in Europe. So far no integrated database has been available to assess critical data for play systems to obtain key characteristics (e.g. thickness, TOC, type of OM)as well as key boundary conditions and calibration data for play system modelling (e.g. erosion and heat flow histories) and reservoir quality (e.g. stress history).

Gas Shale database

By assembling data on gas shales (distribution and characteristics) the database aims to facilitate exploration and production in Europe. A web-serviced GIS database of relevant maps, well data and key seismic sections will be built based on data from national geological surveys, industry partners willing to share and public sources. The partners in the project will compile state-of- the art national (GEUS, TNO) and European digital subsurface information systems, integrating web-enabled GIS and 3D visualisation technologies. Starting in the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia, data will be collected and compiled of the main shale intervals, including key factors such as the presence of source rock and the quality and level of maturity defined at the outset of the project.

Main activities

Data compilation and map characterisation will be the main tasks of the project, with geological surveys participating in and/or supported by the GASH project. In the last step of the database project, regional data gathered in the other parts of the GASH project will be incorporated into the database. Database coordination will be subdivided into two different taskforces: Technical GIS coordination (TNO) comprising database building, GIS-map compiling and product development, and key shale interval coordination. These taskforces will deliver the database content and main thematic maps as well as set filter guidelines for gas shale prospecting. We are currently preparing the compilation of the database by contacting the national geological surveys and compiling preliminary data from the surveys, such as the incidence of gas shales in the country and the available geochemical data, and preparing the workshops (the first in the summer of 2009).


Dr. ir. René Peters

  • Gas
  • LNG
  • Transition
  • Offshore Energy

ECN part of TNO

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