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A high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) numerical basin model, incorporating the eastern part of the Lower Saxony Basin (LSB), the Gifhorn Trough and parts of the southern Pompeckj Block, was built to reconstruct the thermal and structural evolution of this area. The estimation and calculation of the unconventional oil and gas resource density within the Posidonia Shale source-rock unit was the main objective of this study. Incorporating organic–geochemical data for the Posidonia Shale source-rock units, such as compositional petroleum generation kinetics data, allowed a more accurate prediction of hydrocarbon potential compared to large-scale models of the area, as well as a better prediction of bulk adsorption capacity and adsorbed gas content. For the accurate calculation of oil and gas contents within the source-rock lithologies, mineralogy and physical properties of the rocks, such as compressibility, sorption capacity and porosity, are important as well as organic matter quantity, quality and thermal maturity. These properties in turn are strongly dependent on the vastly different burial/uplift histories within the LSB, Gifhorn Trough and the Pompeckj Block. The Gifhorn Trough, large parts of the Pompeckj Block and the flanks of the LSB are interesting concerning the unconventional oil potential, with current source-rock maturities between 0.65% and 1.2% vitrinite reflectance. Central parts of the LSB and small parts of the Pompeckj Block show inherent unconventional gas potential. Methane adsorption capacity is influenced by the burial/uplift history of the basin, which stresses the importance of structural and geochemical interlocking in understanding unconventional hydrocarbon systems.

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