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  • Additional crude oil reserves assumed to exist in northern Germany
    édité le 04/11/2011 - Plus de news de "RWE" - Voir la fiche entreprise de "RWE"


Additional crude oil reserves assumed to exist in northern Germany
RWE Dea assumes that additional deposits exist near Germany's biggest oil field Mittelplate and along the coast of Lower Saxony, off Cuxhaven. RWE Dea, as operator or two consortia, plans to drill a total of four exploration wells in the Wadden Sea tidelands of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. RWE Dea’s partners as part of this project are the companies Wintershall and Gas de France Suez*. The aim is to confirm the existence of assumed reserves totalling around 23 million cubic metres of crude oil, and to gather information for use at a later stage, should the deposits subsequently be exploited. Submission of the detailed application documentation is scheduled to take place shortly in both federal states.

Temporary exploration work in the Wadden Sea tidelands – however, no new production facility planned there as yet
The exploratory wells will be drilled vertically for a temporary period, exercising the very highest of safety levels. It was agreed with the state governments of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein that potential oil production at a later date would be carried out only from outside the National Park or from the existing Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island (Schleswig-Holstein).

Planning to give special consideration to the ecology of the surrounding area
As part of the recognition process for the Wadden Sea tidelands as a World Heritage site, three temporary enclaves had been defined for the exploration wells. The enclaves had been excluded from the World Heritage site. The sequence and time window for the exploration wells were determined according to ecological considerations, in order to minimise any impact and disturbances on the tidal flats. Once the work is completed, the enclaves can subsequently be added to the World Heritage site.

Brief stay in the Wadden Sea tidelands, and safety maintained throughout operations
The purpose of the exploration wells is not to extract crude oil, but merely to investigate the exact shape and location of the sub-surface rock formations, and whether oil exists and is capable of being produced. The work is to be carried out using a relatively small drilling rig mounted on a pontoon substructure. The facility will be anchored securely on the tidal flats so as to withstand stormy conditions, and once each well has been completed, it will be towed to the next drilling site. Following stays of limited duration at each drilling site, the wells will be plugged again and made secure, and all the equipment will be removed from the tidal flats.
Three of the four planned drilling sites are located in the Wadden Sea tidelands of Schleswig-Holstein, in the exploration license area Heide / Büsum section, as issued by the responsible mining authority. The fourth drilling site in the Wadden Sea tidelands of Lower Saxony is in the exploration license area Cuxhaven, located about twelve kilometres off the coast of Lower Saxony. When work will start depends on the progress of the approval process.

No additional production facility on the tidal flats
In the event that oil will be discovered, RWE Dea – as the operator responsible – has already committed to extract oil exclusively by means of extended-reach deviated wells sunk from outside the National Park, or by using the existing facilities on Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island. The result is that there will definitely not be any additional production facilities located on the Wadden Sea tidelands. All activities will be planned and conducted in such a way as to minimise any impact on the tidal flats. The “Zero Discharge” principle applies: No substances will reach the Wadden Sea tidelands, from either the drilling rig or from the living accommodation provided for the drilling crews. Even spray and rain water will be captured and disposed of on the mainland.

Comprehensive approval process
Drilling of the exploration wells is preceded by a comprehensive approval process. To this end, the company engages in a regular technical dialogue with the State Authority for Mining, Energy and Geology (LBEG) and the relevant National Park administrative offices. The submission documentation includes the relevant supporting environmental studies as well as technical surveys and expert opinions compiled with the assistance of external institutions. Once this process was completed, all the documentation for the application for exceptional permits as well as for the general operating plan was completed, and will soon be submitted. The approval processes for the exploration wells in the two federal states are conducted independently of each other.

Open dialogue
“We are well aware of the sensitivity of the environment, and the responsibility this entails. For this reason, we are seeking an open dialogue involving all stakeholders, including associations, environmental protection organisations and, of course, the citizens living in the region. We will explain the objectives and the current state of preparations in detail, in an effort to show that the work will be carefully planned and carried out safely,” said RWE Dea Chief Operating Officer Ralf to Baben. The needs of the natural environment of the Wadden Sea tidelands will be taken into account in planning all of the activities. “In the event of commercially viable finds, production from these deposits will exclusively be either from outside the National Park or from the existing Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island,” explained to Baben.

Petroleum indispensable for everyday living
The suspected potential reserves would make a substantial contribution towards securing Germany's energy supply. “Developing new oil reserves would not only lessen Germany’s dependence on imports; it would also secure and create new jobs in the regions,” added to Baben. Despite the energy turnaround taking place in Germany, petroleum will still remain indispensable in the future. Petroleum is not only the basic material used in producing petrol, aviation fuel and heating oil; it is also an important feedstock for the manufacture of plastics and a large number of everyday items.

*Partners for the licence area Heide / Büsum: Wintershall 50%; partner for the licence area Cuxhaven: Wintershall 25%, GdF Suez 25%


Origine : Communiqué RWE

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