Christoph Hilgers

Christoph Hilgers
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | KIT · Structural Geology & Tectonics

Professor

About

145
Publications
25,307
Reads
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1,753
Citations
Introduction
Prof. Dr. Christoph Hilgers chairs the Structural Geology & Tectonics department, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - KIT. We improve models on mechanical and chemical rock properties to better predict heterogeneties of reservoirs & storage sites in the subsurface. We analyze processes, techno-economical utilization concepts and value chains for energy and mineral resources to identify new strategic alternatives.
Additional affiliations
April 2016 - present
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • focus on Reservoir Geology and Structural Geology
April 2016 - present
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • Structural Geology, Reservoir Geology, Regional Geology & Earth History, Sedimentology, Field Courses
January 2010 - March 2016
RWTH Aachen University
Position
  • Professor
Education
March 1997 - June 2000
RWTH Aachen University
Field of study
  • Structural Geology
October 1994 - March 1996
RWTH Aachen University
Field of study
  • General Geology
September 1993 - September 1994
Imperial College London
Field of study
  • Applied Structural Geology & Rock Mechanics

Publications

Publications (145)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Estimating the porosity and permeability of rocks is a necessary component of reservoir modeling. Feldspar dissolution is a widespread phenomenon in clastic bedrock reservoirs located in petroleum-bearing zones, affecting porosity, permeability, and thus reservoir quality [1]. We adopt a phase-field model to the dissolution of K-feldspar (Orthoclas...
Article
After decades of hydrocarbon exploration and production in the Lower Triassic Buntsandstein from the Central European Basin center, the marginal southern German Buntsandstein has gained interest as a potential lithology for geothermal applications and lithium brine extractions. For this purpose and in order to better understand reservoir quality, p...
Research
Full-text available
Recently, the COVID19-pandemic and the war against Ukraine have shown explicitly that the German economy is adversely affected by its dependence on international raw material imports. Hydrocarbons, industrial minerals, metallic raw materials and semi-finished products have to be imported to keep the German industry running. Already in 2021, the TH...
Article
Subsurface reservoir quality assessments are among the most important workflows in reservoir geology. The application has been standard practice in the hydrocarbon industry and is also adopted for geothermal reservoir systems hosted in clastic rocks. With the emergence of fluid mining for metals, such as lithium for the energy transition, yet anoth...
Book
Many siliciclastic reservoirs contain millimetre scale diagenetic and structural phe nomena affecting fluid flow. We identified three major types of small scale flow barriers in a clastic Rotliegend hydrocarbon reservoir: cataclastic deformation bands; dissolution seams; and bedding parallel cementation. Deformation bands of various orientations we...
Article
Upper Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic sedimentary rocks are of great significance to the petroleum geology of the Eastern Dahomey Basin as they are valuable prospects for hydrocarbon reservoirs. Diagenesis and reservoir quality (porosity and permeability) controls are deduced from core samples recovered from six shallow exploration wells in the onshore...
Article
The main reservoir quality controls in Triassic Buntsandstein deposits in the Upper Rhine Graben and surrounding outcrops in Germany and France are discussed to be authigenic mineral precipitates and the vicinity to structural elements (faults and fractures). To better understand reservoir quality controls in this lithology, a detailed diagenetic s...
Article
Faults and fractures are important fluid pathways in subsurface energy reservoirs. Especially in geothermal energy production, hydrocarbon production, and energy storage in the subsurface, fractures can enhance reservoir quality and production or storage potential. However, mineral precipitations often reduce available fracture apertures, and thus...
Article
Full-text available
Authigenic minerals formed during diagenesis in conjunction with compaction by burial have long been known to lead to porosity-loss of sandstones, and a subsequent deterioration in reservoir quality. The diagenetic impact on reservoir quality and permeability heterogeneity measured horizontal and vertical to bedding was characterized in three fluvi...
Article
Full-text available
Initial detrital composition and authigenic alterations during diagenesis of three sandstone types are related to their mechanical properties. Sandstones were prepared for geotechnical standard tests [density, uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), Young’s modulus (E), strain at failure (ε)] and thin sections for petrographic analyses (point counting...
Book
Full-text available
Länder mit hoher Produktionsleistung benötigen resiliente Rohstofflieferketten. Deutschland ist zu 100 % von der Einfuhr von Metallerzen und -konzentraten abhängig, die meisten von ihnen werden nach der Produktion als Waren wieder exportiert. Deutschland steht mit einem Anteil von 23 % am nationalen und 7 % des globalen BIP auf Rang vier der weltwe...
Chapter
Full-text available
Ein knappes Viertel des deutschen Bruttoinlandsprodukts (BIP) wird durch das produzierende Gewerbe erwirtschaftet. Als Nettoexportnation mit der Ausfuhr von Metallerzeugnissen, Maschinen, Kraftwagen u.v.a.m. stehen exportierte Produkte als Sekundärrohstoffe für eine heimische Kreislaufwirtschaft nicht mehr zur Verfügung. Wachsende Weltbevölkerung,...
Article
Full-text available
The utilization of geothermal reservoirs as alternative energy source is becoming increasingly important worldwide. Through close-range aerial photogrammetry realized by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), this study investigates the surface expression of a leaking warm water reservoir in Waiwera, New Zealand, that has been known for many centuries bu...
Conference Paper
Present work deals with the modeling of syntaxial overgrowth quartz cementation in sandstones in three-dimensions. For this purpose, we adapted and calibrated a spatio-temporal multiphase-field model. The generated data sets in the simulations were post-processed to analyze the impact of quartz cementation and polycrystallinity of detrital quartz g...
Article
Full-text available
Die weitere Zunahme der Weltbevölkerung und des Wohlstands wird bis zum Jahr 2060 zu einer Verdoppelung der Rohstoff exploration auf mindestens 86 Gt führen. Recycling allein wird den globalen Bedarf nicht decken können. Nutzungskonflikte können jedoch auch zukünftig verhindert werden, weil Baurohstoffe geologisch in ausreichender Menge verfügbar s...
Article
Full-text available
The growing world population with increasing prosperity results in an increasing demand for organic, mineral and metallic raw materials , which cannot be met by recycling alone. Demand will also increase due to the energy-and mobility transition. Germany does not host any major globally operating company in metal mining, and the number of companies...
Article
Petrophysical measurements on core plugs integrated with petrographic information from thin-sections are established methods in reservoir quality assessment. X-ray micro-computed tomography (μCT) presents an opportunity to derive the internal structure of reservoir sandstones for digital fluid flow simulations, while simultaneously assessing minera...
Article
The lateral heterogeneity of reservoir rocks is important to assess storage potential and permeability. This case study focusses on a Lower Triassic (upper Olenekian) outcrop of fluvial sandstones of the Plattensandstein Member (Röt Formation) near Röttbach in the southern part of the Germanic Basin, Central Germany. The Buntsandstein Group is cons...
Article
Full-text available
This work aims at the economic evaluation of a semi-underground pumped hydro storage power plant erected in an abandoned open-pit mine. For the exploratory model-based analysis, we develop and apply both a simple deterministic and a stochastic net present value (NPV) approach, the latter of which uses a Monte Carlo simulation to account for revenue...
Article
Full-text available
Present work investigates the dynamics of polycrystalline quartz cement growth in sandstone using a multiphase‐field model. Firstly, the model parameters corresponding to common reservoir temperature and pressure conditions were determined. A parameter related to growth kinetics was ascertained through undisturbed cement growth simulations to aptly...
Article
Reservoir quality of sandstones is mainly derived from their permeability and porosity. As a result, porosity-reducing processes need to be understood in order to evaluate and model reservoir quality in sandstones. This case study from a Rotliegend gas reservoir in the Northern German Basin utilizes petrophysical measurements in conjunction with pe...
Poster
Full-text available
Connected open pores forming the matrix porosity are important fluid pathways in siliciclastic geothermal and hydrocarbon reservoirs at 2-5 km depth. Therefore, grain rearrangement by mechanical compaction, authigenic mineral formation during early and late diagenesis, as well as chemical compaction have a profound impact on permeability (Taylor et...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates reservoir quality development in tight Upper Carboniferous fluvial sandstones (Westphalian C/D) in the Lower Saxony Basin, NW Germany. The study integrates data from three outcrops (Piesberg, Woitzel and Hüggel) in the south of the basin with that from two wells (Wells A and B) located at gas fields approximately 50 km to th...
Article
Reservoir quality in sandstones can be a function of temperature, pressure, and chemical alterations over time. Some intrinsic properties of sandstones can additionally impact the evolution of reservoir quality. The detrital composition, depositional environment, and properties controlled thereby, dictate some of the diagenetic changes. Extrinsic p...
Presentation
Full-text available
As fluid flow primarily occurs in the matrix of siliciclastic sandstone reservoirs, diagenetic processes, such as authigenic mineral precipitation as well as chemical and mechanical compaction have a major impact on the reservoir quality and need to be understood for reservoir quality assessment (Taylor et al., 2010; Busch et al., 2017). Petrograph...
Conference Paper
The Upper Carboniferous fluvial sandstones and Zechstein Ca2 carbonates represent important hydrocarbon reservoir units in the Lower Saxony Basin, NW Germany, with production of more than four decades and a great exploration potential. In those tight, gas-producing formations, significant exploration and development risks are attributed to their sp...
Poster
Full-text available
Detailed petrographic analyses as well as petrophysical measurements are well established standard methods used for reservoir characterization by the E&P industry. Advances in computational power over the last decade combined with the ongoing challenge of digitalization present new opportunities regarding fluid flow through porous siliciclastic san...
Poster
Full-text available
Fracture distribution is of prime importance in URG carbonate reservoirs and reflects the orientation of stress during deformation. Since subsurface data are limited, numerous studies derive data from field analogs. They include fault-fracture scaling relationships (e.g. Meier et al., 2015), fold-fracture relationships (e.g. Lamarche et al., 2012),...
Poster
Full-text available
Understanding the mechanisms of mud volcanism is critical for oil and gas exploration in Azerbaijan, as well as in other countries where this natural phenomena is abundant, e.g. in Iran or Indonesia. Whereas location and geochemistry of mud volcanoes is well studied and recorded (Institute of Geology and Geophysics (ANAS) et al., 2015), geological...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Characterizing a subsurface reservoir, the geologist is reliant on core material, which allows for only a small-scale view into the target area. Hence, analytically determined reservoir properties from core material can barely serve as proxy for a large 3D prospect. This analog study of a proposedly homogenous Lower Triassic sandstone in Southern G...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the lateral distribution of carbonate facies is essential to understand reservoir continuity, geometry and quality, and, as a consequence, can help improving development strategies as reservoir characteristics vary between different types of depositional environments. This study focuses on three outcrops of Zechstein-2-Carbonates (sec...
Article
Understanding the orientation and connectivity of fracture systems in tight reservoirs is essential to reduce uncertainties in reservoir development and production. However, the actual flow potential of the fractures can be controlled by the present-day stress field. Dilation- and slip tendency analyses can improve fracture permeability evaluations...
Presentation
Azerbaijan mud volcanoes are well known to expel muds together with hydrocarbons on the surface (Guliyev, 2006; Institute of Geology and Geophysics (ANAS) et al., 2015). They originate from overpressured organic-rich Paleogene shales deposited in a rapidly subsiding basin (e.g. Feyzullayev and Lerche, 2009; Knapp et al., 2007; Piip et al., 2012). A...
Article
Full-text available
The present work investigates the influence of crack opening rates on the development of four important calcite vein morphologies, namely fibrous, elongate-blocky, partially open, and euhedral, as a result of bitaxial growth in syntaxial veins using a multiphase-field model. The continued fracturing that occurs during synkinematic cementation in th...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding natural fracture networks in the subsurface is highly challenging, as direct one-dimensional borehole data are unable to reflect their spatial complexity, and three-dimensional seismic data are limited in spatial resolution to resolve individual meter-scale fractures. Here, we present a prototype workflow for automated fracture detec...
Article
Cyclic fluvial, coal-bearing sandstones from the Upper Carboniferous are important tight-gas reservoirs in the Lower Saxony Basin, NW Germany. Two wells from two fields located 10 km apart, both comprising of Westphalian C/D fluvial sandstones were studied. Well A was affected by approximately 1.2 km and well B of approximately 2.8 km of basin inve...
Poster
Mud volcanoes are abundant geological phenomena in the southern Caspian Basin related to very high subsidence and sedimentation rates. In Azerbaijan more than 200 mud volcanoes were mapped onshore. In the surrounding of the mud volcanoes ascending hydrocarbon rich fluids and gases affect groundwater and soil quality. Hydrocarbon systems are close...
Presentation
3D field applications have a high potential to gain large amounts of data in a relatively fast time from former inaccessible reservoir analog outcrops. We apply terrestrial laser scanning (t-LiDAR) and UAV-based Structure from Motion (SfM) on fractured Muschelkalk outcrops on the graben shoulder of the Upper Rhine Graben. Upper Muschelkalk carbon...
Article
Full-text available
The present work investigates the dynamics of quartz precipitation from supersaturated formation fluids in sandstone using a multiphase-field model. First, we simulate the unitaxial growth of quartz in geological fractures in two dimensions and examine the role of misorientation and crystal c- to a-axis ratio (c/a) in the formation of quartz bridge...
Conference Paper
Understanding reservoir quality variations in tight gas sandstones is key to improve their exploration potential. This study focuses on the integration of outcrop and subsurface data of Upper Carboniferous sandstones in the Lower Saxony Basin, NW Germany, to derive lateral and vertical porosity and permeability trends on different scales. Linking p...
Conference Paper
Reservoir quality in deeply buried sandstone reservoirs (>4000 m burial depth) is often controlled by clay minerals, as cements and replacements. However, the presence of clay minerals in sandstones can also improve reservoir properties if the minerals are present as grain coatings, inhibiting or reducing syntaxial quartz overgrowth cementation. If...
Article
Full-text available
Natural fracture networks strongly control hydrocarbon flow paths in tight carbonate reservoirs. An improved understanding of their geometries regarding orientations and distribution may result in reduced uncertainties in reservoir modeling and well planning. Outcrop analogs provide supplementary information about fracture networks below seismic re...
Poster
Automated fracture analysis in Middle Triassic Muschelkalk, Upper Rhine Graben L. Merz*, Y. Manss*, C. Hilgers* *Structural Geology & Tectonics, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – KIT, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany Abstract Fractured Muschelkalk carbonates are an E&P target in the Upper Rhine Graben. However, fracture spacing, age relationship and res...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Eolian dune sandstones are recognized as homogenous reservoir units by both E&P and geothermal industry. Nevertheless, such assumptions neglect the effects of sedimentary structures within the rock mass. This study focusses on analog outcrops of Lower Permian reservoir sandstones in 1) the North German Basin and 2) the Vale of Eden (GB). We sampled...
Conference Paper
Natural fracture networks can control hydrocarbon migration pathways in tight carbonate reservoirs. As their distribution depends on mechanical properties which are controlled by the depositional environment, diagenetic overprints, and the tectonic history of each setting, fractured reservoir modelling appears challenging. Outcrop analogs are incor...
Article
It is often difficult to identify and quantify mineralogical heterogeneities on the centimetre to metre scale by optical means, when these heterogeneities have apparently similar colours. Therefore, a general image processing workflow combined with mineralogical analytical methods is presented by using contact-free hyperspectral imaging techniques...
Conference Paper
Understanding the fracture patterns of carbonate reservoirs reduces uncertainties in reservoir characterization. This study integrates outcrop and well data to evaluate their comparability in fracture characteristics with a focus on Zechstein Ca2 (Stassfurt Formation) carbonates in the Southern Permian Basin, N-Germany. We identified a suitable out...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the spatial variability of reservoir properties in tight gas sandstones can significantly reduce uncertainties in reservoir characterization. This study focuses on two outcrops of Upper Carboniferous (Westphalian D) fluvial sandstones in the southern part of the Lower Saxony Basin, NW Germany, which are analogues for tight, gas-produc...
Conference Paper
Natural fracture patterns significantly control hydrocarbon flow paths in tight carbonate reservoirs. A better understanding of fracture geometries may significantly reduce uncertainties in reservoir characterization during development and production. This integrated study focuses on the structural fracture relationships and reservoir quality analy...
Article
Quartz cementation in sandstones is closely linked to grain coating phases and diagenetic alteration. Grain coatings consisting of illite–smectite stained with iron oxides and hydroxides are able to preserve large amounts of porosity by preventing the formation of syntaxial quartz overgrowth cement. The Penrith Sandstone Formation was chosen as an...
Article
Silicate reaction kinetics provide a complementary means to other established paleothermal indicators such as organic maturation for evaluating thermal reconstructions. In this study we combine the use of an organic maturation model with kinetic models for quartz and illite cementation to evaluate burial history scenarios for five subsalt wells in...
Article
Full-text available
Upper Carboniferous sandstones make one of the most important tight gas reservoirs in Central Europe. This study integrates a variety of geothermometers (chlorite thermometry, fluid inclusion microthermometry and vitrinite reflection measurements) to characterize a thermal anomaly in a reservoir outcrop analog (Piesberg quarry, Lower Saxony Basin),...
Article
Upper Carboniferous sandstones are one of the most important tight gas reservoirs in Central Europe. We present data from an outcrop reservoir analog (Piesberg Quarry) in the Lower Saxony Basin of Northern Germany. This field-based study focuses on the diagenetic control on spatial reservoir quality distribution. The investigated outcrop consists...
Article
Full-text available
Since the liberalization of electricity markets power prices are considered as highly volatile. Thus investment in new power plants is exposed to higher risks. Traditional capital budgeting methods lack the integration of flexibility. This can be overcome by applying real options analysis. In the context of an increasing electricity production by h...
Conference Paper
Understanding fracture network geometries is key for optimizing well planning and improving hydrocarbon recovery in tight carbonate reservoirs. This study integrates outcrop and well data to evaluate their comparability in fracture characteristics. The focus is on Zechstein Ca2 (Stassfurt Formation) carbonates in the Southern Permian Basin, N-Germa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Homogeneous porous sandstones are target horizons for geothermal and hydrocarbon reservoirs due to their high permeabilities. However, their sedimentary and structural heterogeneity may alter flow properties. We analyzed the permeability anisotropies and associated diagenesis of sedimentary and structural fabrics in eolian Rotliegend sandstones and...
Conference Paper
Assessing natural fracture networks in subsurface reservoir rocks is highly challenging and it is useful to incorporate data from outcrop analogs. We focus on the Upper Carboniferous of the Piesberg quarry in the Lower Saxony Basin of NW-Germany, being an excellent outcrop analogue for Upper Carboniferous tight gas fields in the region. We establis...
Conference Paper
Reservoir quality in siliciclastic reservoirs is generally impacted by the depositional environment and the presence of authigenic components. However, the distribution of clay coatings within depositional environments is unclear, although they are a main controlling factor in porosity preservation. We show that the distribution and clay coat cover...
Conference Paper
Reducing uncertainties in reservoir characterization can immensely benefit from using quantitative outcrop analog data. The comparison of outcrop analogs with subsurface data from well cores enables the delineation of reservoir heterogeneities over basin-scale distances. This study focuses on the structural and diagenetic pattern of Upper Carbonife...
Conference Paper
Upper Carboniferous sandstones are one of the most important tight gas reservoirs in NW-Europe. We focus on the Upper Carboniferous of the Piesberg quarry on the southern rim of the Lower Saxony Basin of N-Germany, which exposes fluvial cyclic deposits, consisting of strongly cemented sandstones fining upwards into siltstones and shales with interc...
Article
Full-text available
Geological information is derived from geophysical well logs from seven onshore wells in the Nile Delta using gamma ray-, resistivity-, sonic velocity- and density logs. Caliper logs are used for quality control. The Tertiary siliciclastics and carbonates can be delineated from electrofacies models, which are based on multivariate statistical metho...
Article
Many siliciclastic reservoirs contain millimetre-scale diagenetic and structural phenomena affecting fluid flow. We identified three major types of small-scale flow barriers in a clastic Rotliegend hydrocarbon reservoir: cataclastic deformation bands; dissolution seams; and bedding-parallel cementation. Deformation bands of various orientations wer...
Article
This paper investigates the economic feasibility of power-to-gas (P2G) systems and gas storage options for both hydrogen and renewable methane. The study is based on a techno-economic model in which the net present value (NPV) method and Monte Carlo simulation of risks and price forward curves for the electricity and the gas market are used. We stu...