RWE Dea Spins Bit in Northern Germany

RWE Dea has started exploring for oil deposits with the first of three exploratory wells in Lower Saxony north of Gifhorn, in an area containing depleted oil fields.

The purpose of drilling the exploration wells is to test for the presence of oil deposits at a depth of 1,500 meters. Following the completion of the first well, near Ummern (Herzogsbrunnen 1), a further two exploration wells are planned to be drilled: one between Wesendorf and Wagenhoff (Quellenburg 1), and the other near Hahnenhorn (Hahnenmoor 1).

At the end of 2006, a seismic survey was carried out here within the Hahnenhorn concession which covered an area of 150 square kilometers, and leading-edge technology produced a detailed 3D image of the subsoil structures. This allowed geologists and geophysicists working for RWE Dea to identify rock formations with oil-bearing potential.

High-quality crude oil had been produced in this region until the 1990s from a geological formation called the "Gifhorner Trog" ("Gifhorn Trough"). The potential storage formation, a Dogger sandstone layer, is located within reach of the wells, at a depth of around 1,500 metres. The purpose of these exploratory wells is to test whether oil is present in a commercial viable quantity and quality.

RWE Dea has deployed the state-of-the-art T-48 drilling rig owned by the company EEW in Salzwedel. To reach its underground target, the drill bit has to grind its way through the subsoil layers for around three weeks for each of these wells.