New Rig Taps Additional Mittelplate Oil

Germany's biggest oil reservoir is now being tapped by one of Europe's most modern, sophisticated drilling rigs. The rig deployed on Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island is known as the T-150 and came at a total cost of approximately 50 million euros; it features special equipment to allow it to operate in the ecologically sensitive Wattenmeer tidelands without harming the environment.

The T-150 gives the Mittelplate Consortium, consisting of RWE Dea AG as operator and Wintershall AG, a high-performance drilling rig with which the future challenges associated with the further development of the Mittelplate oilfield can be successfully overcome. The maximum output of the T-150 is 10,000 HP. Being a drilling rig of the very latest generation, it is electrically powered and produces zero emissions. Its hook load capacity, i.e. the maximum weight the drilling rig is capable of lifting, is 500 metric tons.

The high-tech rig is currently being deployed to drill the A20 well. On a precisely defined drilling path, the drill bit works its way through to the target horizon - the oil-bearing sandstone layers at a depth of 2,000 to 3,000 meters. With its large drilling radius 6,000 meters in length around the Mittelplate Island and total drilling lengths of approx. 8,000 meters, the T-150 drilling rig is capable of tapping the Mittelplate oilfield to an optimum degree.

Since the start of production in 1987, 19 out of a possible 44 wells have been sunk from the Mittelplate Island, and about 10 million mt of crude have been produced to date. Constant upgrades to the island's production facilities and the expansion of transport capacities have made it possible for the initial annual production volumes of around 200,000 to 300,000 mt of crude to be consistently increased.

In conjunction with the pipeline link established in 2005 between the Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island and the treatment plant at the Dieksand Land Station, the new, more powerful drilling rig will allow production on the island to be boosted from a past level of approx. 900,000 mt to a volume ranging from 1.2 to 1.6 million mt of crude per annum.

As the remaining domestic oil deposits are largely exhausted, the Mittelplate field, which accounts for just under 65 percent of national crude oil reserves, is the only major German oil field with a viable future.