Over the summer of 2023, I had the opportunity to work in the rock mechanics group at TNO in The Netherlands. TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) conducts a mixture of government funded research to aid with social and public issues whilst also fulfilling research contracts for private companies. This creates an interesting junction between pure academic research, industry timelines, and research applications.
During my time at TNO, I worked as a team member on the government funded “Fault Matter 2” project which looks at how geothermal heat mining changes stress around faults in old gas reservoirs, fluid flow properties around these faults and the risk of induced seismicity. Much of my time was spent in their mechanics lab in Utrecht, testing permeability variation around fault damage zone structures to investigate how fluid flow changes around large faults. A rock core window from the North Sea Rotliegend reservoir through a fault structure was the focus of investigation. Over the three-month placement, I conducted core CT scans at the University of Utrecht; short wavelength infra-red hyperspectral imaging at DeepAtlas; thin section cutting and imaging; C and O isotopes of carbonates; triaxial permeability and acoustic velocity tests at a range of drained reservoir conditions; structural analysis; fracture and deformation band density; hXRF; contributing to a fluid flow history and extensive data package for geothermal system modelling in the Groningen field.
Though intensive with plenty of steep learning curves, I could not have asked for a more interesting and educational experience. A huge thank you to my TNO supervisors Loes Buijze and Vincent Soustelle and to Iapetus for funding the experience.