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On May 25, 1959, the well Slochteren-1 (SLO-1) spudded, some 10 km east of the town of Groningen in the northern part of the Netherlands and successfully tested gas in the Permian Rotliegend sandstones (Fig. 1). Only years later was it realised what impact this event should have on the European energy market and the setup of a gas supply network in Europe. 2009 commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the giant Groningen Gas Field.

The Rotliegend reservoir in the Groningen Field is now known as the largest producing gas accumulation in Europe (2,900 × 109 m3 or 100 Tcf GIIP). On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN), Nederlandse Aardolei Maatschappij (NAM), and Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO) organised the symposium “Fifty Years of Petroleum Exploration in the Netherlands after the Groningen discovery”. This event was held on the 15th and 16th of January 2009 at TNO in Utrecht and included a core workshop presenting a unique selection of Rotliegend core material.

The symposium touched upon a number of examples of gas fields in the onshore Netherlands and the Southern North Sea. Play concepts vanished or have been forgotten over time. The symposium allowed the early explorationists to bring them back in order to help the professionals active today in their search for hydrocarbons. In a number of lectures, examples of plays were shown that were explored during the last fifty years. The core workshop complemented this effort by displaying a unique

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