Southern North Sea Sillimanite gas field begins production

Source: press release, 20 February 2020

Sillimanite – sustainable platform recycling

Wintershall Noordzee B.V. – a Joint Venture of Wintershall Dea and Gazprom EP International – has successfully started gas production from its operated Sillimanite field. Discovered in June 2015, the unitised gas field stretches across the UK and the Dutch Continental Shelves and is located approximately 200 kilometres off the coast of Den Helder.

“With first gas from Sillimanite we once more underline our ability to successfully explore for hydrocarbons and transfer development projects successfully into production. As Sillimanite will increase the amount of gas produced in Europe, it underlines Wintershall Dea’s capabilities as Europe’s leading, independent gas and oil producer,” says Hugo Dijkgraaf, Chief Technology Officer and Board Member at Wintershall Dea.

Wintershall Noordzee, active for over 50 years as a full cycle operator in exploration, development, production and decommissioning, has for the second time recycled the topside of its recently decommissioned E18-A platform, formerly P14-A topside, in the Sillimanite project.

“As part of our sustainability programme, we pay highest attention to the re-use of offshore platforms where the production has ceased. In this way, we can further improve our company’s environmental footprint and at the same time keep our operations cost-efficient. Giving this platform topside a third life, now at Sillimanite is a best-case example for our industry,” says Dijkgraaf. “In addition, Sillimanite will be monitored 24/7 from the Remote-Control Operations Center in Den Helder. This enables us to make our operations even leaner and more cost efficient. The project was delivered safely, within just 16 months from the investment decision,” concludes Dijkgraaf.

Besides Sillimanite, Wintershall Noordzee plans to further invest in activities in the Southern North Sea. “We have a diverse project pipeline in the Southern North Sea ahead of us! With the Dutch Rembrandt/Vermeer oil developments we plan another exciting project. We are currently in the Define Phase and we plan for the final investment decision late 2020. Additionally, we are also evaluating the development potential of the Greater Ravn Area in Denmark,” says Dijkgraaf.

The development concept for Rembrandt/Vermeer will be a proven Southern North Sea type shallow water installation. On Vermeer, an integrated wellhead, process, utility and living quarters platform on top of a subsea storage tank as well as an offloading installation for oil export with shuttle tankers will be built. On Rembrandt, a normally unmanned wellhead platform with minimal facilities is planned. All projects help Wintershall Dea to secure the European energy supply via domestic production.