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The North German Basin yields enormous geothermal resources of more than 13 000 EJ (exajoule: 1 EJ = 1 × 1018 J) heat in place bound to Paleozoic petrothermal and Mesozoic hydrothermal reservoirs. So far, these resources are only exploited at a few localities. Thus, geothermal energy is considered an underutilized energy resource. Despite long-term experience in exploiting Rhaetian hydrothermal reservoirs, the exploration risk remains high, which is mainly related to high expectations on reservoir thickness and quality. Previous exploration campaigns have identified potential hydrothermal reservoirs in six Mesozoic reservoir complexes. But, as high-resolution subsurface maps are not available, the reliable prediction and targeting of reservoirs remains an unsolved problem.

As such, an exploration strategy integrating methods of sedimentology, palaeontology, petrography and reservoir characterization was applied to a large database of cores and wireline logs. This contribution details the key results of the exploration of Upper Keuper and Middle Jurassic reservoir complexes, including high-resolution subsurface facies, sandstone thickness and reservoir quality maps. Sets of these maps enable the reliable prediction and targeting of individual hydrothermal reservoirs, and, thus, make a significant contribution to a lowered exploration risk.

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