Region: North Sea
Content Types: Report
Date: Aug, 2021

Wintershall AdobeStock 3887628Netherlands-based Wintershall Noordzee B.V., a joint venture of Wintershall Dea GmbH and Gazprom EP International B.V., has started a largescale decommissioning programme in the Southern North Sea.

The first phase of this programme will last for approximately one and a half years and entails the plugging-and-abandonment (P&A) of 24 wells in both Dutch and German waters, and the removal of two platforms and two subsea installations.

The tender for the first part of this extensive programme was granted to Swift Drilling BV. In the past months, the SWIFT 10 jack-up rig has been modified and prepared to start work after a period of stacking due to a worldwide economic slump in offshore activities. The rig will first set sail to the P9 location to close off and safely abandon two subsea wells. It will then continue to the next wells until all 24 wells have been securely plugged and abandoned.

Decommissioning and complete removal of its assets is part of the full activity cycle of Wintershall Noordzee. A largescale campaign such as this is an efficient and effective way for the company to fulfill its decommissioning liabilities, Windershall Noordzee says.
“It is merely the final act of what we do, and one we have mastered doing over the years”, said Jone Hess, Managing Director of Wintershall Noordzee B.V. “We are proud of our accomplishments in the Southern North Sea and will continue to fulfill our obligations when it comes to our assets.”

Removal of four non-producing assets

Part of the largescale decommissioning programme is the full removal of the Q4-A and B production platforms, in addition to the two P9 subsea installations. These activities are due to start in the spring of 2022, with completion by Q4 2022.

Wintershall Noordzee B.V. is one of the largest producers of natural gas on the Dutch continental shelf. It is operator of 23 production platforms and six subsea installations in the Dutch, English, German, and Danish sectors of the North Sea. Active in the Southern North Sea since 1965, the company has substantial experience in decommissioning and re-use of its installations. Since the late 1980s, 58 wells have successfully been plugged and abandoned, starting with the first five wells in 1988 belonging to production platform K13-D. That same year, the topside of K13-D was moved to its new location in sector L8 becoming production platform L8-H. This marked the company’s first of a total of seven reused topsides to date.

Wintershall Noordzee has fully decommissioned and removed 16 production platforms during the past 30+ years, of which seven topsides were reused at new locations in the Southern North Sea. The topside of production platform P14-A has already been recycled twice by becoming the topside of E18-A in 2008, which became the topside of production platform D12-B in 2019.