3D basin modelling is used to investigate the history of maturation and hydrocarbon generation on the main platforms in the northwestern part of the offshore area of the Netherlands. The study area covers the Cleaverbank and Elbow Spit Platforms. Recently compiled maps and data are used to build the input geological model. An updated and refined palaeo water depth curve and newly refined sediment water interface temperatures (SWIT) are used in the simulation. Basal heat flow is calculated using tectonic models. Two main source rock intervals are defined in the model, Westphalian coal seams and pre-Westphalian shales, which include Namurian and Dinantian successions. The modelling shows that the pre-Westphalian source rocks entered the hydrocarbon generation window in the Late Carboniferous. In the southern and central parts of the study area, the Namurian started producing gas in the Permian. In the north, the Dinantian source rocks appear to be immature. Lower Westphalian sediments started generating gas during the Upper Triassic. Gas generation from Westphalian coal seams increased during the Paleogene and continues in present-day. This late generation of gas from Westphalian coal seams is a likely source for gas accumulations in the area.
Westphalian coals might have produced early nitrogen prior to or during the main gas generation occurrence in the Paleogene. Namurian shales may be a source of late nitrogen after reaching maximum gas generating phase in the Triassic. Temperatures reached during the Mid Jurassic were sufficiently high to allow the release of non-organic nitrogen from Namurian shales.