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16.02.2012

Oil leakage in Landau and Aitingen

Oil leakage from wet oil pipeline in Landau (15.02.2012)

There was a brief leakage of wet oil (water with an oil content of up to 10 percent) on Wednesday (15.02.2011) in the vicinity of the crude oil works at Landau (near Queichheim). The cause of the accident is so far unknown; the leak occurred at a flange joint of a steel pipeline. The pipeline operations have been suspended.

The damage was immediately reported to the Rhineland-Palatinate state office for geology and mining as the authority responsible. The damage caused was limited to a very small area owing to the high viscosity of the crude oil produced (about 10 cubic meters of wet oil). Work to clear away the soil affected began immediately. The remaining soil will then be examined in the presence of an external appraiser. In addition to the authorities responsible, the city representatives have also been informed.

Wintershall operates one of the largest crude oil fields in the Upper Rhine rift in Landau. The field was discovered in 1955, and the company started producing crude oil the same year. Since then around 4.4 million tons of oil have been produced from the oil works in Landau. In the last few decades about 200 wells have been sunk, of which 72 are still in operation. Wet oil is classified as slightly hazardous to water.

Oil leak on the grounds at Aitingen (12.02.2012)

On Sunday (12.02.2012) a brief leakage of wet oil (water with an oil content of up to 20 percent) occurred on the grounds of the Aitingen crude oil field near Augsburg. Based on initial findings, the cause of damage is presumed to be the extreme weather conditions, which led to the leakage from an above-ground secondary pipeline on the Wintershall grounds. The secondary pipeline’s operations were suspended immediately.

The damage caused was limited to a very small area owing to the high viscosity of the crude oil produced, the small amount of oil leaked (about 8 cubic meters) and the frozen subsoil of the asphalt and gravel area. The damage was immediately reported to the authority responsible, the South Bavaria mining office. The first measures have already been discussed and implemented. The wet oil is being disposed of properly and the production site is being cleaned under the supervision of an external appraiser.

There is not expected to be any impact on the environment. The water management office Donauwörth came to the site and determined that the measures being taken are adequate to protect the ground water. Community representatives were informed in addition to the relevant authorities.

Aitingen is by far the largest oil production operation in the foothills of the Alps. Wintershall has been producing at the production site south of Augsburg since 1979. Around 30,000 tons of crude oil and almost 1,000 tons of crude oil condensate from the associated gas are currently produced a year from the fields "Aitingen" and "Schwabmünchen".

Contact: Stefan Leunig