Categorizing the level of seismic risk for the onshore gas fields in the Netherlands.

K. van Thienen-Visser, J.A. Roholl, B.M.M. van Kempen, A.G. Muntendam-Bos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In recent years public concern about earthquakes induced by gas production has increased in the Netherlands. This has mainly been caused by numerous seismic events related to gas depletion in the Groningen gas field, the largest gas field in Western Europe. Induced seismicity has also been observed in 31 smaller gas fields located on land (onshore) or in the area close to the Dutch coast. Earthquakes with magnitudes as high as ML = 3.5 have occurred in Roswinkel and Bergermeer causing damage to buildings.

In 2016 State Supervision of Mines (SSM), with input from the geological survey of the Netherlands (TNO) and the onshore operators, proposed a guideline for a qualitative seismic risk analysis for depletion induced seismicity arising from gas production in the small fields in the Netherlands. The guideline follows international practices for risk assessment using a risk matrix approach. This paper elaborates the seismic risk guideline and reports on the application of the guideline to the gas fields in the Netherlands.

Risk is a combination of hazard and consequences. The result of the seismic risk analysis is qualitative and gives a relative scoring of the producing gas fields in the Netherlands in terms of risk. In order to obtain more information on the quantitative assessment of the risk, more detailed studies are needed. The Groningen gas field clearly poses a much larger seismic risk than that obtained for the other, smaller gas fields, most of which fall into the lowest risk category. Because of the large difference in risk between the Groningen field and the other smaller gas fields, the guideline of SodM deems it sufficient to carry out a qualitative risk analysis for the other gas fields in the Netherlands, as performed in this paper. Based on the combination of the hazards and consequences, the risk can be further interpreted and, if necessary, appropriate measures can be implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-207
Number of pages10
JournalEngineering Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Induced earthquakes
  • Groningen gas field
  • Geostatistics
  • Netherlands
  • Seismic risk


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