Operational excellence Key objective in our strategy
Operational excellence: We are already performing extremely well in this area and can certainly compete with the best in our industry. One example of this is our decision to make sensible use of the associated gas produced during oil production as a source of energy – such as for generating electricity and heat – and not just flare it during routine operations. Operational excellence is one of the key objectives in Wintershall’s strategy. Whatever we do, we combine efficiency and economy. That is only possible if we work together.
That’s why all the Wintershall branches and sites work closely together – across national boundaries and time zones. The following examples show the scope of our operational excellence.
No flaring Wintershall no longer flares associated gas
Flaring – the burning of associated gas from oil production – destroys energy resources worldwide and increases greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, in November 2015 Wintershall became a member of the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative launched by the World Bank and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Its aim is to stop the flaring of associated gas worldwide by 2030. By signing up, Wintershall also wishes to encourage other companies to join the World Bank initiative and collectively set an example for action against climate change. Our company already stopped flaring in routine operations in 2012, and in so doing saves around two million tons of CO2 emissions every year.
Wintershall now generates electricity, heat and steam with the associated gas instead. Flaring is only used in exceptional circumstances, for example when testing a well or as part of service and repair work on wells and plants. The systematic implementation of a voluntary commitment such as this is rare in the E&P industry.
Intelligent use of crude oil associated gas
2 millionT CO2 annually
We recycle disused offshore platforms
By recycling the platforms of depleted crude oil and natural gas fields, Wintershall is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability along the entire production chain. It re-uses these old modules for oil and gas production. In the North Sea, for example, Wintershall arranged to have a multi-purpose platform (MPP) taken from field P6-S to field Q1-D. To do so, the platform structures had to be dismantled and technical facilities had to be prepared for re-using the platform at the new location. “Natural gas production in small gas fields is relatively expensive, and by recycling the platform we are saving the costs of building a new platform. This way we can produce from field Q1-D with really low costs,” says Peter Valkenier, Head of Facility Engineering at Wintershall Noordzee.
Our Mini-platforms cut costs
Wintershall is using a new generation of platforms for gas production. In June 2014, Wintershall erected a “Minimum Facility” platform in the Dutch North Sea for the first time, which can produce from a maximum of two production wells. At just 1,200 tons, the L6-B weighs less than a third of the nearby L8-P4 platform, and costs less than half to make. The small dimensions of these mini-platforms make them particularly suitable for shallow waters and make natural gas production from very small fields profitable too.
We produce cost-efficiently from old fields
Another example of operational excellence is our production from mature fields, i.e. from fields that have been producing for many years. For these fields we use special techniques that allow us to continue operating these reservoirs profitably. One example is Wintershall’s operating site in Landau in the Pfalz region, where the largest crude oil field in the Upper Rhine rift is located. Since 1955 we have produced around 4.5 million tons of crude oil from depths of up to 1,800 meters. Today around 65 of the 200 wells drilled over the last decades are still in production.
Wintershall also takes advantage of state-of-the-art technologies in Landau in order to exploit the reservoir as efficiently as possible. “Despite the long production lifetime, there is still oil in the field that we can produce profitably with present-day technological possibilities,” explains Andreas Scheck, Head of Wintershall Deutschland. That includes deviating existing wells, i.e. installing secondary strings to existing wells. For instance, the first well to strike oil, “Landau 2”, was extended this way in 2011. A side arm was drilled from the existing well in order to tap into additional potential crude oil. That saves space, time and costs. The improved separation and purification of the associated gas produced with the oil and the reservoir water also help to improve efficiency. These measures all ensure that as much as possible of the valuable natural resource can be produced and brought to the refinery.