Wintershall Noordzee B.V. – a 50:50 Joint Venture of Wintershall Dea GmbH and Gazprom EP International B.V. – has successfully drilled the Sillimanite South field discovery well and directly converted it into a development side-track. 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 Noordzee is currently finalising 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.
“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,” says Robert Frimpong, Managing Director of Wintershall Noordzee B.V. “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.”
With the finalisation of this third well, 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. “There is still potential in the Dutch North Sea, but the conditions and circumstances need to change rapidly,” says Robert Frimpong.
The unitised 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%).