New approaches in experimental research on rock and fault behaviour in the Groningen gas field

Christopher J. Spiers, Suzanne J.T. Hangx*, André R. Niemeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper describes a research programme recently initiated at Utrecht University that aims to contribute new, fundamental physical understanding and quantitative descriptions of rock and fault behaviour needed to advance understanding of reservoir compaction and fault behaviour in the context of induced seismicity and subsidence in the Groningen gas field. The NAM-funded programme involves experimental rock and fault mechanics work, microscale observational studies to determine the processes that control reservoir rock deformation and fault slip, modelling and experimental work aimed at establishing upscaling rules between laboratory and field scales, and geomechanical modelling of fault rupture and earthquake generation at the reservoir scale. Here, we focus on describing the programme and its intended contribution to understanding the response of the Groningen field to gas production. The key knowledge gaps that drive the programme are discussed and the approaches employed to address them are highlighted. Some of the first results emerging from the work in progress are also reported briefly and are providing important new insights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalGeologie en Mijnbouw/Netherlands Journal of Geosciences
Issue numberS5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • fault friction
  • fault rupture
  • in situ conditions
  • induced seismicity
  • reservoir compaction
  • upscaling fault properties


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