Wintershall launched its first gas production as operator in the British North Sea last Sunday with the Wingate platform. The platform in the British offshore concession 44/24b will initially produce 1.5 million cubic meters of natural gas. A second production well is expected to increase the production rate to three million cubic meters of natural gas as soon as next year. That will be enough gas to supply around 400,000 households.
"Our most recent investments of more than 50 million euros in the Wingate project once again demonstrate that we still see considerable potential in the North Sea," Martin Bachmann, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall and responsible for Exploration and Production, explained. The company has been active in the North Sea for almost 50 years. Wintershall Noordzee is the operator of Wingate (49.5%); the consortium partners are Gazprom Germania (20%), Exxon Mobil (15.5%) and Gas-Union (15%).
The natural gas extracted from a depth of 3,700 meters will be transported via pipeline to the GDF SUEZ platform D15-A, situated 20 kilometers away in the Dutch North Sea. From this facility it will flow over a distance of about 300 kilometers to the Dutch mainland near Uithuizen. Bachmann continued, "The production of gas from the Wingate platform is controlled via the Wintershall remote control room in Den Helder in the Netherlands."
Wintershall was allocated the concession block 44/24b as part of the 22nd UK offshore licensing round in 2004. The natural gas field was discovered in 2008. Up to 100 specialists and craftsmen worked on the construction of the Wingate platform in the dockyards in Dordrecht and in Ridderkerk. Construction lasted 10 months. The platform is fully self-sufficient: a mini-power turbine station generates electricity from the gas directly extracted from the field. The Wingate platform is about 1,200 square meters in size; the platform deck weighs around 950 tons and rests on a structure known as a 'jacket', which is anchored into the sea bed. It rises 45 meters from the seabed and the structure weighs around 850 tons. Overall Wingate measures 70 meters from top to bottom.
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