E.ON's First Production Platform Heads to Babbage Field

The first gas production platform operated by E.ON left the shipyard a few days ago and is currently being installed on the Babbage gas field. The field is located some 80 km off the coast of the UK, in the Southern North Sea. Production of natural gas is expected to commence in April 2010.

"The completion of this platform is an important milestone in the development of the Babbage project towards first production of natural gas. It also illustrates our determination in developing our upstream business," said Dr. Bernhard Reutersberg, Chairman of the Board of Management of E.ON Ruhrgas. "In the North Sea we have focussed on projects operated by ourselves over the last years. In addition, we have expanded our activities from the UK and Norway into Russia and North Africa. We see exploration and production of natural gas as a growth area."

Today, E.ON Ruhrgas Exploration & Production has around 200 employees and an annual production of 1.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 6 million barrels of liquids (2008). Production will increase significantly over the next years as more fields are brought on stream.

Reutersberg added, "Our mid-term objective is to produce more than 10 billion cubic meters of equity gas per year."

E.ON Ruhrgas is the operator of the Babbage field with an equity share of 47%. Partners are Dana Petroleum (E&P) Limited (40 %) and Centrica Resources Limited (13 %). The field is expected to produce more than 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

The reservoir of the Babbage field lies about 3,200 meters below the sea bed. The platform will be installed in a water depth of 42 meters. Five wells will be drilled in two phases until 2011, allowing a daily production of around 2 million cubic meters of natural gas, enough to meet the demand of more than 1,000 single-family homes for a year. The gas will be transported by pipeline to the UK market.

The Babbage platform was constructed within a space of ten months. During this time, the project employed around 500 people. In the first two years of production approximately 15 people will be working on the platform; thereafter it will be remotely operated from shore. The total investment in the development of the Babbage field will amount to more than € 300 million (around £ 265 million).