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The sand-prone fluvial Delft Sandstone Member of the Nieuwerkerk Formation is the main target for geothermal exploitation in the West Netherlands Basin. Uncertainty reduction in the modelling of permeability heterogeneity and connectivity of the sandstone reservoir units is of prime importance in the low-profit geothermal energy market. Lithostratigraphic correlation of the Delft Sandstone Member dates back to the 1970s, and considers the fluvial deposits as Valanginian (140–134 Ma) in age and synchronously deposited throughout the basin.

Analysis of newly-acquired palynological data, in combination with well-log correlation and seismic interpretation, enabled the construction of a sequence-stratigraphic framework for the Nieuwerkerk Formation, in which the fluvial sandstones were deposited in a much wider age range than previously believed, from Late Ryazanian to Valanginian (142–134 Ma). The depocentre of fluvial deposition shifted in time from NE to SW across the width of the basin. This diachronous development resulted in a discontinuous spatial arrangement of fluvial sandstones. The new reservoir architecture model will aid in the well placement of geothermal doublets and the assessment of interference risk of adjacent geothermal projects.

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