Wintershall Noordzee successfully starts cross-border gas production from Sillimanite field Third life for platform topside: Best case for re-use in the North Sea
Rijswijk. Wintershall Noordzee B.V. (a 50:50 Joint Venture of Wintershall Dea and Gazprom EP International) has successfully started gas production from its operated cross-border development Sillimanite. Discovered in June 2015, the unitized gas field stretches across the UK and the Dutch Continental Shelves. “The safe delivery and start-up of production of this exceptional cross-border development project is a showcase of how working together on all levels brings about great results”, says Robert Frimpong, Managing Director of Wintershall Noordzee B.V. “We are proud of the results achieved by the teams and look forward to the numerous further opportunities the area around Sillimanite has to offer.”
Third life for production platform
Wintershall Noordzee, active for over 50 years as a full life-cycle operator in exploration, development, production and decommissioning, has re-used the topside of its decommissioned P14-A production platform for the second time. Starting its life as the topside of P14-A in 1993, it was re-used to become the topside of E18-A in 2009. It has now started its third life on the D12-B platform, including technical enhancements to minimize emissions to the environment. Wherever possible, Wintershall Noordzee seizes the opportunity to re-use parts of its production platforms. It is a sustainable as well as a cost-effective approach. This practice dates back to 1988 when the topside of K13-D was re-used as the topside of L8-H.
Natural gas from Europe for Europe
The production of gas from the Sillimanite gas field is in line with the statement made by the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs on the small fields policy. In a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives dated 31 May 2018, Minister Wiebes wrote “Gas extraction in our own country, when this is safe, is better than importing. This is partly due to the fact that the Netherlands will still need natural gas for some decades to come, although in declining quantity. In that case, own production is better for the climate, better for employment and the economy, better for the preservation of knowledge of the deep subsurface and of the present gas infrastructure, and also better geopolitically.”
Wintershall Noordzee contracted the Maersk Resolve drilling rig to work on the development of the Sillimanite field which is planned to have a minimum of two production wells. The first of the two production wells, D12-B1, was drilled within the planned timeframe and budget. The produced gas will be transported through the newly laid 12-kilometre-long pipeline connecting the D12-B platform to the existing D15-A production platform (operated by Neptune), both located in Dutch waters. From there, the gas will be transported through the NGT (Noordgastransport B.V.) gas transportation system to shore.
The unitized Sillimanite gas field stretches across the UK and the Dutch continental shelves in licence block 44/19a on the UK side and blocks D12a and D12b on the Dutch side. A Treaty between the UK and Dutch governments entered into force in July 2018. Beside Wintershall Noordzee B.V. as operator (39.7%), unit-partners in the Sillimanite development are Energie Beheer Nederland BV (25%), Gazprom International UK Ltd (19.9%), Neptune Energy Netherlands BV (2.3%), Neptune Netherlands Participation BV (1.6%), Neptune E&P UK Ltd (3.6%) ONE-Dyas BV (3.1%) and ONEDyas UK Ltd (4.8%).
About Wintershall Dea
With the merger of Wintershall Holding GmbH and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, two successful companies with a long tradition have formed Europe’s leading independent natural gas and oil company: Wintershall Dea. The company with German roots and headquarters in Kassel and Hamburg explores for and produces gas and oil in 13 countries worldwide in an efficient and responsible manner. With activities in Europe, Russia, Latin America and the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa), Wintershall Dea has a global upstream portfolio and, with its participation in natural gas transport, is also active in the midstream business.
Wintershall Dea stands for more than 120 years of experience as an operator and project partner along the entire E&P value chain. The company employs around 4,000 people worldwide from over 60 nations. The company plans to increase its average daily production from around 590,000 barrels of oil equivalent to a range of 750,000 to 800,000 barrels in the period between 2021 and 2023. In the medium term, an initial public offering of Wintershall Dea is envisaged.