Wintershall Strengthens Position in Southern North Sea

German oil and gas producer Wintershall said Wednesday that it was 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 said it intends to take its natural gas and crude oil discoveries into production swiftly. The move is a vote of confidence in the region in the light of the current low oil price.

“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,” Robert Frimpong, Managing Director of Wintershall Noordzee, said in a statement.

During the past five years, Wintershall has been awarded exploration and production rights over approximately 120 licenses in the North Sea, while establishing itself as an operator of producing fields in Norway and the southern North Sea. The firm pointed out that it operates 24 offshore platforms in Dutch, German and UK waters and is one of the most active explorers and producers in the region.

Wintershall plans to expand its production in the Netherlands with a key activity being the potential development of the F17a (Rembrandt) discovery, for which the firm has submitted an application for a production license with the Dutch authorities (Wintershall holds a 30-percent stake in Rembrandt). Meanwhile, the firm expects to see the L6-B platform start natural gas production in the Dutch North Sea this year.

Over in the Danish North Sea, Wintershall said it is making progress with the development of the Ravn oilfield – in which it holds a 63.6-percent share.

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 11 miles 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 said.

Frimpong 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 will have to focus consistently on innovative and cost-efficient solutions.

“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 said.

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.

Late last month, Rigzone took part in a press tour of oilfield services firms in Rotterdam and found out that the Dutch oilfield services sector, while not yet hurting from the low oil price, expects 2015 to be a difficult year.


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