The southern sector of the North Sea is one of our traditional core regions. This is where in 2005, we installed and commissioned the largest Wintershall production platform in the North Sea, the F16-A. This platform can process up to 6 million cubic meters of natural gas per day, which is enough capacity to absorb the volumes of field E18-A, which was discovered in 2007 in the immediate vicinity of the platform.
In 2008, Wintershall once again, and in parallel, managed to cater to the demands of environmental protection and economic performance.
A natural gas production platform was dismantled and refurbished for the second time so that it could produce natural gas again under a new name and in a new location. The P14-A gas production platform was dismantled from its location in the Dutch North Sea, and transported to the shipyards in Rotterdam, Ridderkerk and Vlissingen. A large section of the platform is being reused for a new platform E18-A, which began operations in 2009 in field E18 in the North Sea. The refurbishment of the old platform saved costs and time over the construction of a new platform, because much of the material could be reused.
Another innovation is the newly constructed center for remote controlled operations (RCO) at Den Helder which was awarded the 2008 BASF Innovation Award. Since 2007, the centre has used a radio control system to monitor the production operations of the majority of the platforms Wintershall operates in the southern sector of the North Sea. The Den Helder centre will ensure that production from the Dutch offshore reserves is as efficient as possible in the future. By converting to RCO, Wintershall can achieve significant savings in areas such as material procurement, maintenance, preparation work, personnel deployment planning, and logistics. These saving greatly assist in making the development of smaller deposits financially viable. In addition, the number of flights to-and-from the respective platforms can be reduced, thus increasing employee safety. The Netherlands is also home to the Wintershall corporate competence center for offshore technology. As the expansion of offshore expertise gains importance in oil and gas exploration and production, we apply this advanced expertise in our activities in other regions of the world.
Wintershall’s largest production platform in the Dutch North Sea, the F16-A, started production in early 2005. The 27-metre-high natural gas platform is seven stories high and weighs 3600 tonnes. The gas produced is first air-cooled and then dried in plants on board the platform. It is them transported via a pipeline to Oude Statenzijl in the Province of Groningen, where it is fed into the network belonging to the Dutch GasTerra company.
The F16 is a manned platform and works entirely self-sufficiently: the six-man crew plus cook and steward produce their own drinking water using a seawater desalination plant. A mini power plant generates electricity using the natural gas recovered from the field.
Wintershall is an international active oil and gas company with operations in four continents. We look back on 120 years of drilling experience. For more than 80 years, we have been actively involved in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. The company employs about 2,000 people from 50 countries. We are s subsidiary of BASF, the largest chemical company in the world.