Wintershall Noordzee Wraps Sillimanite Drilling. Calls for Dutch Gov't to Boost E&P Sector

September 28, 2020

Credit: Neptune Energy
Credit: Neptune Energy

Wintershall Noordzee has completed the drilling of a well at the Sillimanite South field discovery in the Dutch North Sea, and converted it into a development sidetrack.

It was the third well drilled in sequence after the two Sillimanite Unit field development wells were successfully brought into production earlier this year, Wintershall Nordzee, a JV between Wintershall and Gazprom, said Monday.

The company is currently finalizing the hook-up activities to the D12-B production platform situated close to the Anglo-Dutch border in Dutch territorial waters. From there, the produced gas will be transported via the Neptune operated D15-A production platform, through the NGT gas transportation system to shore.

Robert Frimpong, Managing Director of Wintershall Noordzee said: "It is without a doubt a unique achievement of Wintershall Noordzee, Maersk Drilling, and our many supply-chain and Joint Venture partners to develop this exploration well into a production well in one flow."

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped us or slowed us down. Our clear goal was to deliver, and that is exactly what we have done. We maintained focus, concentrated on getting the job done, but most of all we kept everyone involved safe and healthy especially under these COVID-19 circumstances. An excellent example of perseverance, teamwork, and collaboration in difficult circumstances.”

Call for the gov't to act

The company said that the completion of the third well meant that drilling activities on the Dutch Continental Shelf have come to a temporary standstill. 

"With the increasingly challenging environment in the mature Southern North Sea, new exploration activities are at a record low. Improving the investment climate is therefore crucial to secure the continued success of the Dutch E&P sector. It requires improved framework conditions that encourage and support continued exploration, development, and sustenance of infrastructure essential to the energy transition," the company said.

“There is still potential in the Dutch North Sea, but the conditions and circumstances need to change rapidly.,” says Robert Frimpong

The unitized Sillimanite gas field stretches across the UK and the Dutch continental shelves in licence block 44/19a on the UK side and blocks D12a and D12b on the Dutch side. A Treaty between the UK and Dutch governments entered into force in July 2018. The Sillimanite South prospect is located entirely in block D12a. Both Sillimanite and Sillimanite South gas fields are producing from sandstone reservoirs of Carboniferous age at a depth of approximately 3700 m below sea level.

The Sillimanite South Joint Venture partners are: EBN B.V. (50%), Neptune (10.5%) and operator Wintershall Noordzee B.V. (39.5%).

It’s not a case of one or the other

Commenting on Wintershall's achievment, Lex de Groot, Managing Director for Neptune Energy in the Netherlands, said: “Our congratulations to our partners Wintershall Noordzee for their success with the Sillimanite South exploration well, which was safely drilled from the newly installed D12-B platform."

"Like the two previously drilled D12-B development wells, this is another strong example that demonstrates the many opportunities for domestic offshore gas production in the Dutch sector of the North Sea.

"Domestically-produced offshore gas is important for various reasons; it has a 30% lower CO2 footprint than imported gas; it supports security of supply and reduces reliance on imported energy sources which can be more carbon intensive, and – besides solar and wind energy – we know we will continue to need gas to heat our homes and fuel our economy.

"It’s not a case of one or the other – we need a reliable and affordable energy mix that includes gas and oil, and renewable energy. We therefore look forward to adding the production from this new development well as soon as possible. Neptune is a proud and proactive joint venture partner in the Sillimanite development, which fits our regional portfolio very well.”

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