Wintershall strengthens position in southern North SeaExpansion of production portfolio in the Netherlands / Development of the Ravn discovery in Denmark / Extensive drilling campaign
Amsterdam. Wintershall is stepping up its activities in the southern North Sea. In addition to an extensive drilling campaign in the Netherlands, the UK and Denmark, the company intends to take its natural gas and crude oil discoveries into the production phase swiftly. “We believe in the ongoing potential of the southern North Sea and are hereby making our contribution to securing Europe’s energy supply by efficiently developing the assets we have close to home,” explains Robert Frimpong, Managing Director of Wintershall Noordzee, during the Flame international energy conference in Amsterdam (13 - 16 April). More than half of the natural gas consumed in the European Union, and about a quarter of the EU’s crude oil consumption, comes from the North Sea and the countries bordering it.
Expansion of production activities in the Netherlands
The North Sea is a core region for Germany’s largest, internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer. The BASF subsidiary has been active in the region since 1965 and in the last five years it has been awarded exploration and production rights in around 120 licenses in the North Sea. At the same time, the company has firmly established itself as an operator of producing fields in Norway and the southern North Sea.
Wintershall operates 24 offshore platforms in Dutch, German and UK waters of the North Sea and is one of the most active explorers and producers in this region. This year L6-B, a platform with a unique minimal design to allow installation in a restricted military zone, will begin natural gas production in the Dutch North Sea.
Natural gas production will continue to be one of the company’s main areas of activity in the Netherlands and in the southern North Sea – and will be complemented by oil production as well.
A key component of these activities is the discovery F17a, which has now been named “Rembrandt” after the Dutch painter. With 30 million barrels of oil equivalent the Rembrandt reservoir is one of the largest oil discoveries in the southern North Sea; as the operator Wintershall has a share of 30%. Further upside potential is currently being appraised. At the same time, Wintershall is paving the way for the development and has submitted an application for a production license to the Dutch authorities.
Launch of own-operated production in Denmark
Wintershall is not only strengthening its position in the Netherlands, but also in the other regions of the southern North Sea. The company is making great progress with the development of the Ravn oil field in the Danish North Sea, of which Wintershall holds the operatorship (share: 63.6%). The development and operating plan, which has been approved by the Danish Energy Agency, envisages an unmanned production platform and a subsea pipeline that would transport the crude oil to the A6-A platform 18 km away in the German North Sea, where it will be fed into the existing transport system. “Ravn represents a milestone for our company. It is the first field for us in Denmark that we are progressing into the production phase as the operator,” Frimpong says.
Frimpong firmly believes that the southern North Sea will remain an attractive region for internationally active oil and gas companies in future. But in view of the current low oil prices, companies have to focus consistently on innovative and cost-efficient solutions, he says. “Wintershall has a key advantage here: by being present in the whole region and across national borders, we realize synergies that are of critical benefit to our complex developments. We will continue to harness this advantage and invest in the future,” Frimpong says. Wintershall is planning eight wells in 2015 in the Netherlands alone, three of them as operator. They will be accompanied by another four operated wells in the British and Danish North Sea.
Wintershall Holding GmbH, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the extraction of natural resources for 120 years, and in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for over 80 years. Wintershall focuses on selected core regions where the company has built up a high level of regional and technological expertise. These are Europe, Russia, North Africa, South America, and increasingly the Middle East region. The company wants to expand its business further with exploration and production, selected partnerships, innovation and technological competence. Wintershall employs some 2,500 staff worldwide from 40 nations and is now Germany’s largest, internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer.
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