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Hydrodynamics-based approaches were used to characterise and analyse the present-day pressure and fluid-flow conditions in the Permian Rotliegend reservoirs in the Netherlands. These approaches involve the use of multi-well pressure– depth plots, regional all fluid overpressure maps, salinity maps, and hydraulic-head maps. The maps and plots revealed a general regional trend of, often stepwise, decreasing fluid overpressures from northeast towards the south. Values of fluid overpressure vary between hard geopressures (Pexcess > 40 MPa in block L2) and near-hydrostatic pressures (Pexcess < 1 MPa in southern offshore). The highest overpressures occur in a zone following the northern limit of the Permian Rotliegend reservoirs. The width of the zone of high overpressures extends southward into the onshore Netherlands in the area of the Lauwerszee Trough. The hydraulic-head map of the Rotliegend reservoir demonstrates the potential for a general southward dewatering direction.

The hydrodynamic evaluation identified that there are distinct regional differences between the southern and the northern part of the area with respect to important factors influencing both pressure generation (such as sedimentary loading and gas generation) and dissipation (by fluid flow) in the Rotliegend reservoir. The distribution of observed overpressures and hydraulic heads reflect these regional differences. We show that because the vertical and lateral dewatering of the Rotliegend reservoirs is controlled by the permeability framework, the regional variations therein exert a major influence on the observed distribution of fluid overpressure. Relatively high fluid overpressures are maintained in zones where dewatering of the Rotliegend is severely restricted. This is especially apparent in the southern part of the Dutch Central Graben and also in the northern part of the Lauwerszee Trough.

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