RWE Dea Awaits Govt Approval for Drilling Offshore Germany

RWE Dea has submitted applications to conduct exploratory drilling off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, off Cuxhaven. The operator plans to drill four exploration wells in the Wadden Sea tidelands of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony.

The operator said the goal of the drilling campaign is to prove the existence of the assumed reserves, totaling around 23 MMcm of crude oil, and to gather information for use at a later stage. RWE Dea plans to submit the application shortly, and if approved, commence drilling in the near future.

Furthermore, the operator noted that the exploratory wells will be drilled vertically for a temporary period. The consortium agreed with the state governments that potential oil production will be carried out only from outside the National Park or from the existing Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island. As part of the recognition process for the Wadden Sea tidelands as a World Heritage site, three temporary enclaves have been defined for the exploration wells. 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 anchor on the tidal flats so as to weather rough conditions, and once each well is completed, it will tow to the next drilling site. Once drilling is completed, the wells will be plugged.

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. The fourth drilling site in the Wadden Sea tidelands of Lower Saxony is in the exploration license area Cuxhaven, located about 12 kilometers off the coast of Lower Saxony.

RWE Dea stated that the potential reserves could 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," said RWE Dea Chief Operating Officer Ralf to Baben.

Partners for the license area Heide/Büsum include RWE Dea (50 percent) and Wintershall (50 percent); and partners for the license area Cuxhaven include RWE Dea (50 percent), Wintershall (25 percent) and GDF Suez (25 percent).


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