News listings

energy-pedia development and production

Netherlands flagNetherlands

Europe / Caspian / CIS >>> Netherlands

Netherlands: ExxonMobil to continue to tap the enormous resources at the Slochteren field for another 50 more years

17 Jun 2009

Photo - see caption

The Dutch Slochteren natural gas field, the largest on mainland Europe, may be productive for at least 50 more years because it contains “enormous” resources, according to project operator ExxonMobil Corp. “Our expectations are that we are going to achieve a very high recovery level in that field,” Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson told reporters at a conference yesterday in Groningen province, where the deposit is located. “There is still an enormous amount of gas yet to be recovered.” 

Oil and gas companies are seeking to prolong the life of existing fields as falling energy prices and tighter credit markets curb funds to exploit new reserves. Output from Slochteren, set to decline after 2025, is capped to extend the life of the field, which contains about a third of the European Union’s proven gas resources.

“That’s why you are talking about 50 years or more and a lot of it will depend on the decline curve and how rapidly you will pull it down,” Tillerson said at an event to mark the 50- year anniversary of Slochteren’s discovery. Exxon operates the field with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, through Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM).

Photo - see caption

Slochteren, which started pumping gas in 1963, yields an average of 40 billion cubic meters (1,400 billion cubic feet) a year, more than half the Netherlands’ production. The field, the largest source of the country’s wealth, has generated more than 160 billion euros ($221 billion) in revenue for the Dutch state, according to Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven.

The potential of Slochteren is enormous given the amount of untapped unconventional resources such as tight and shale gas and coal-bed methane, Stephen Holditch, head of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University, said today in an interview in Groningen.

“They’ve got coal seam right under the Groningen gas accumulation; you go a little bit shallower and there is gas shale and right above that there is oil sand, heavy oil,” Holditch said. “It’s a matter of finding them, evaluating them and trying to determine how to make money to produce this low- quality resource.”

Tight gas is gas that’s difficult to access because of the composition of the rock and sand surrounding it. Because extraction is complex, producers require sufficient financial incentive to tap it. A rebound in oil and gas prices and the slowing of production at Slochteren may lead the field’s developers to search for unconventional resources, Holditch said.

“They haven’t even started to drill very deep at Slochteren,” Cyril Widdershoven, senior business consultant at the TNO Science & Industry institute in Delft, Netherlands, said today in an interview. “There is probably much more, also in unconventional resources.”

When producers brought the field on stream, recoverable gas volumes were estimated at 2,700 billion to 2,800 billion cubic meters, of which 1,700 billion cubic meters have been pumped.

Since the oil crisis in the 1970s, the Dutch government has sought to keep the field in reserve while exploring and developing other deposits. When gas demand exceeds total supply from the other fields, Slochteren makes up the difference.

The world has the equivalent of about 320 Slochteren fields in unconventional gas resources that are technically recoverable, Texas University’s Holditch said.

Source: Bloomberg

Bookmark and Share

A global information service for upstream oil and gas opportunities - divestitures, farmins and farmouts and licensing rounds.

Subscriber Only Deals

Current deals: 1685
Completed deals: 5123

Company Profiles

Current Company Profiles: 2629

Corporate Activity

Current Corporate Activity articles: 3218

Companies Looking

Current number of articles: 425

Company Sales

Current Company Sales articles:1331


Current Geostudies articles: 623

How to subscribe

energy-pedia Jobs

RSS Feed Widget
See all jobs...

energy-pedia Databank

The energy-pedia databank contains links to information on the world financial and energy markets, including share prices, oil and gas prices and the global stock exchanges. Read more...

energy-pedia Glossary

A list of commonly used terms in the oil and gas industry. Read more...


Subscribe to the FREE
energy-pedia Daily Newsletter

RSK Logo 149
SLR Consulting logo
Government of South Australia
Union Jack Oil 149
Rose & Assocs 149
count geophysics
EP Consult Energies
KL Publishing
Lynx Information Systems
About energy-pedia

energy-pedia news is a FREE news service written and edited by E and P professionals for E and P professionals.

We don't just report the news, we give you the technical background as well, with additional information derived from our unique energy-pedia opportunities service.
Contact us

energy365 Ltd

238 High Street
London Colney
St Albans

Tel: +44(0)1727 822675