Upfront predictions of hydraulic fracturing and gas production of potential shale gas targets in Europe are important as often large potential resources are deduced without detailed knowledge on the potential for successful stimulation. Such predictions are challenging as they need to be based on limited available data, i.e. without well tests or proper case studies. In this study, a geological model was constructed for a representative area in the South of the Netherlands (Noord-Brabant province) where a potential shale gas target (the Posidonia Shale Formation) is present in the subsurface. Petrophysical analysis of rock properties and geomechanical analysis of the stress field are performed. The sensitivity of hydraulic fracturing to rock properties, stress state and treatment schedules was studied using a commercially available hydraulic fracturing simulator. A systematic series of simulations was performed for a range of input parameters to address geological uncertainty and optimum stimulation treatment. The results show that uncertainty in leakoff coefficient and minimum horizontal stress are most important in predicting fracture dimensions and conductivity. Minor upward growth of fractures is observed for all scenarios. Analysis of Coulomb stress changes due to hydraulic fracturing shows that opening of fractures alone is unlikely to cause fault reactivation.

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