The Netherlands YEPP Visits Gas Platform

The Netherlands YEPP made a field trip to Total E&P Nederland’s Zuidwal gas platform in the Waddenzee (a tidal area in the north of The Netherlands) in February 2004. Participants were given a tour of Total’s gas treatment center in Harlingen, including a view of the control room that monitors all of Total’s Netherlands operations.

It was a pleasant and sunny winter day for most of the boat trip, and our hosts looked after us well. Lijs Groenendaal, SPE section board member and one of our Total hosts, gave a comprehensive talk about Zuidwal’s history and development.

In 1969, Elf Petroland B.V. was granted an exploration license for the Zuidwal area. The first exploration well, Zuidwal-1, drilled in 1970, revealed the presence of gas at a depth of 1820 m. Four subsequent evaluation wells confirmed the discovery of a reservoir containing about 17 billion m3 of recoverable reserves.

In 1971, Elf Petroland B.V. and partners submitted an application for a concession. Examination took several years because of growing interest in the ecological significance of the Waddenzee. The concession was finally granted in 1984.

The development of Zuidwal field was carried out from 1987 to 1989 in accordance with Waddenzee specific environmental regulations. A 3D- seismic campaign was shot in 1985, and the platform was erected in July 1987 outside the designated nature reserve area.

The platform is small, unmanned, and completely sealed above and below, and the noise level is kept at a minimum. Six conventional (ZDW-A1 through A5 and ZDW-A7) and three horizontal development wells (ZDW- A6, -A8, and -A9) were drilled by a jackup platform. Production started in September 1988, and maximum daily rates of 6.5 million m3 of gas and 150 m3 of condensates were reached as soon as December 1988.

The 25 young SPE members in attendance were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit a working production platform and to experience the beauty and wildlife of the Waddenzee area.

Thank you to all of our kind hosts at Total E&P.