Germany’s most productive source of crude oil, located off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein, continues to be developed using the latest technologies. The recently completed dual-lateral well A26 consists of a main well reaching a length of 6,100 metres, and a deviating branch extending 5,500 metres. Both branches encountered the oil reservoir as anticipated, allowing production amounting to 540 cubic metres of crude daily to begin.
“With a production volume of 540 cubic metres of crude, the well has reached the upper limit of what was expected,” says the manager of the Holstein Production District of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, Thomas Kainer. DEA had launched the project at the end of September 2014. This means that it had taken about ten months to complete this technically challenging well, and costs were around the middle of the double-digit million range. "The complexity of the various individual steps called for the ultimate in technical expertise, perseverance and circumspection. The A26 well has allowed us to gain more valuable experience, which is bound to stand us in good stead when it comes to drilling new wells in the future,” added Kainer.
The dual lateral well makes it possible to reach and exploit several different parts of the reservoir simultaneously. Instead of drilling two separate wells, a dual lateral well only requires a single well which accommodates two production lines – a method that also saves space on Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island. It also means that the length of the well path is roughly halved, since the first 4,000 metres down to the reservoir located in the Dogger Beta sandstone formation only needs to be drilled once.
Before the crude can enter the production line, it needs to be perforated: this is achieved by shooting small holes into the pipe, the cement casing and the surrounding rock. These holes allow the crude to flow into the production line. In the A26 well, the length of the perforation along the production line is a record-breaking 2,461 metres. Using the latest drilling technologies, DEA is today able to drill horizontally over long distances through the oil-bearing sandstone layers of the Mittelplate reservoir, which in places are only a few metres thick. The longer the section opened via the perforation, where crude can enter the production line, the higher the production. The use of state-of-the-art components and materials is a clear indication that DEA is now operating at a very high level internationally in this new era of drilling and production technology.
Mittelplate is considered a reference project for environmentally compatible oil production in a fragile natural environment. DEA has been producing petroleum from Germany’s biggest reservoir safely and in an environmentally compatible manner for over 27 years now. Even environmental protection organisations refer to Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island as a positive example of responsible oil production. Independent institutions attest DEA's adherence to a very high international standard of safety.