Wintershall to enhance production by steam injection


Wintershall is now applying a tried-and-tested production technique to another crude oil formation at its Emlichheim reservoir: to recover more oil, the BASF subsidiary is feeding hot steam into the Gildehaus sandstone. The steam-injected sandstone formation at a depth of 680 to 880 meters is from the marine Early Cretaceous age. It belongs to the Hauterivian on the geological timescale.

“We have been producing crude oil in Emlichheim at a constantly high level for 65 years. We are continuing to invest so that we can maintain this, and to ensure we can keep producing from this reservoir beyond 2040,” Andreas Scheck, director of Wintershall Deutschland, said. The crude oil in the Emlichheim reservoir is viscous and thus difficult to extract. With the steam flooding technique, Wintershall injects steam at a temperature of 300 degrees into the reservoir. This makes the crude oil runnier and easier to produce. The BASF subsidiary, which employs around 100 staff in Emlichheim, has been using this technique successfully for 30 years already in the Bentheim sandstone. The formation in the Gildehaus sandstone, where the method is now also being applied, lies above the Bentheim sandstone.

For the steam flooding of the Hauterivian rock formation which has now begun, Wintershall is injecting 60 tons of steam into the reservoir every day to decrease the high viscosity of the oil and allow it to flow. “The first indications are positive but there’s still a long way to go,” Scheck underlined.

Up to 500,000 additional tons of crude oil could be produced at Emlichheim by applying steam flooding to the Gildehaus sandstone. A major advantage for the Wintershall engineers is the infrastructure already in place, for the existing wells can be used for production and steam injection.

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March 2015

June 2017