Wintershall unveils North Sea spending plans

Wintershall AG, Kassel, Germany, will invest more than $409.2 million on its operations in the North Sea until 2010 to secure indigenous oil and gas supplies for Europe.

Aug 28th, 2007

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Aug. 28 -- Wintershall AG, Kassel, Germany, will invest more than $409.2 million on its operations in the North Sea until 2010 to secure indigenous oil and gas supplies for Europe.

The company will focus on small and medium sized fields and will drill several exploration and production wells from two drilling platforms under contract. It also will carry out exploration programs for 33 blocks and partial blocks—14 in Germany, 8 in the UK, 6 in Norway, 3 in Denmark, and 2 in the Netherlands.

Operator Maersk Oil & Gas AS, Wintershall, and other companies are drilling a well in Ockley field on UK North Sea Blocks 30/1d and 30/1h, which hold reserves estimated at 5 billion cu m of gas and 5 million bbl of condensate.

Production will begin later this year from a well on Block 44/24b in the UK North Sea once seismic surveys are complete. Wintershall Noordzee BV holds a 49.5% interest in this development. The blocks are near areas on the Dutch side which Wintershall has geologically investigated, some of which are producing.

Under the UK's last licensing round, Wintershall acquired four partial blocks: 49/29c, 49/24b, 49/25b, and 50/21 in the southern North Sea. It also received a license for the southern part of Block 44/13

Wintershall has launched a center for remote-controlled operations (RCO) to monitor 18 offshore platforms from the mainland to achieve efficiency. It will spend $5.9 million on the RCO, which will cost a total $15.4 million.

New technologies also will enhance the production lives of older fields, enabling the company to commercially develop deposits difficult to exploit.

Wintershall has become an operator for the first time in Norway with a 40% stake in Block 33/12 in the Norwegian North Sea after receiving consent from the Norwegian energy ministry. The company has 20% shares in three other blocks: 34/8, 34/9, and 34/11.

Wintershall also is developing E18-A and P9-A fields in the southern Dutch sector of the North Sea. It will shoot a 3D seismic survey off the Netherlands in the fourth quarter.

The company, looking for new gas deposits, has just gathered seismic data over 2,300 sq km in the Dutch, Danish, and German North Sea areas.

In June it was awarded 3-year exploration licenses for Blocks H10, H13, and H14 and for two partial blocks, G12a and G15a, which are 80 km northwest of the East Frisian island of Borkum. Wintershall already has seismic data for that 1,500 sq km area.

Wintershall operates 26 platforms, 25 of them in Dutch waters and one in German waters—the Wintershall A6-A platform in the outermost area of the German North Sea, which is Germany's only offshore gas production platform.

In 2006, Wintershall spent $330.1 million on oil and gas projects in the North Sea.

The company has 86 blocks in the North Sea and produces 6 billion cu m/year of gas with its partners in the Netherlands.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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