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Germany tries for more domestic oil production

German energy company Wintershall is conducting surveys to see what's left in its largest onshore field.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
German energy company Wintershall said its conducting surveys at its largest onshore field to try to get more oil from the basin. Photo courtesy of Wintershall
German energy company Wintershall said its conducting surveys at its largest onshore field to try to get more oil from the basin. Photo courtesy of Wintershall

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- German energy company Wintershall said Friday there could be more oil in a field near the Dutch border that's been in production for the last 70 years.

Wintershall said it's conducting a seismic survey to get a better understanding of what's left in the Emlichheim site near the Dutch border. When it's completed at the end of February, the company said it could start planning new wells at the field.

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"Wintershall already successfully completed a drilling campaign in the summer of 2017," the company stated. "With 13 new wells, the company is expanding production in the western part of Germany's largest existing onshore oil field."

The first well from the Emlichheim site entered into production in 1944 and conventional production peaked in the 1950s. Using a steam-injection method to extract the more viscous form of oil at the site, the company said four years ago it could raise the recovery rate by up to 50 percent, compared with the usual rate of about 30 percent.

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Nearly all of Germany's reserves are located near the Dutch border and production has been on the decline. Domestic oil accounts for about 3 percent of total annual needs.

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While advancing toward a cleaner economy, the company said oil still plays a role in national energy transition strategies.

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Wintershall said it's invested about $37 million on project developments. Production at Emlichhein, using new methods and technology, could be extended beyond 2040.

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