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Decommisioning is inevitable

With 25 platforms and a 1,200-km pipeline network, Wintershall Noordzee BV is one of the larger operators in the Southern North Sea. Moreover, the Russian-German joint venture has by far the most experience in dismantling platforms for decommissioning or placement elsewhere. ‘Decommissioning is inevitable, the only question is when.’

On clear days from the 14th floor of Wintershall’s head office in Rijswijk, engineering & construction manager Peter Valkenier has a great view of what’s happening on the Dutch North Sea coast. Of the 150 or so active platforms in the Southern North Sea (SNS), Wintershall operates 25, of which 22 are located on the Dutch section of the continental shelf. “We are actually just a gas operator now,” explains Valkenier. “We shut down our two oil platforms in mid-2015. That is to say that the wells have now been plugged. Wintershall has made new discoveries, however, which would indicate that we will return to producing oil once the price per barrel rises again.”