Helge Beuthan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Wintershall Dea Middle East spoke at a virtual roundtable to discuss the recent milestone the German oil company hit in Abu Dhabi and why the UAE is such an important market
Ten years ago Wintershall (as it had not merged with Dea then) came to Abu Dhabi to set up its first presence in the Middle East. At that point in time it was really about establishing our business in the Emirates and Abu Dhabi. So 10 years ago we set up a representative office here in Abu Dhabi to start building relationships, seeking out projects and moving forward our business,” said Beuthan.
In 2012, Wintershall signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to lead technical appraisal of the Shuwaihat sour gas and condensate field.
“It was quite a complex field as it had partially a high proportion of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S). The reservoir was rather complex and it’s geological structure was quite a challenge for us to start our operations with, but we successfully delivered two appraisal wells in 2015 and 2017.”
Beuthan added: “We were able to prove our capabilities as a company and show that we could drill technical challenging wells in a tough environment. I think that this was really a very good starting point for us as a company in the UAE and most importantly we were able to demonstrate being a prudent operator and partner as well as our high HSE standards.”
In 2018, Wintershall was able to get its breakthrough project in the region with a stake in the Ghasha Concession mega project. Ghasha comprises of nine offshore fields containing gas – partially sour and ultra-sour – as well as oil and condensate.
Wintershall Dea holds a forty year, 10 per cent stake, alongside ADNOC as the operator, and partners ENI, OMV and Lukoil.
“Working in such a partnership is very important, as a partner we want to add our mark for the joint Ghasha concession, and we are doing that,” noted Beuthan.
“With Ghasha we intend to develop off the coast of Abu Dhabi, and at its maximum phase the project is set to deliver over 40 million cubic meters per day of natural gas and 120,000 barrels per day of crude oil and gas condensate. It will help serve the UAE energy strategy 2050. We should start commencing production by the middle of this decade.”
Beuthan provided an update on the Ghasha project, explaining that there had been some delays due to COVID-19.
“During the pandemic ADNOC has taken decisive actions in order to, on the one hand continue business and on the other safeguard people. We have delayed some of the project’s execution, which has given us a good opportunity to look at ways to optimise the project not only technically but also financially.
We are continuously optimising and I think in such a project you should always do that and take time and sit down with your partners and engage in technical discussions. We are continuing to make the project even better for the years to come. I’m very pleased with how the partners have worked together with ADNOC and we are doing this jointly and progressing well,” said Beuthan.
“We feel that Ghasha is tailor-made to suit our expertise as we have lots of experience in working with sour gas and on artificial Islands from our operations in Germany. We have sixty years’ experience with sour gas in Germany and we are operating from an artificial Island in sensitive marine areas at Mittelplate in the Wadden Sea National Park in Germany,” noted Beuthan.
He added: “The Mittelplate operation is very similar to what we will be doing at the Ghasha concession and we can bring all our experience over the years to the Ghasha project. And that is what we are doing.”
“In the UAE we are very much focused on partnerships and we don’t see our participation in Ghasha as being there just for financial commitments, but we see this project as a way to build a long-lasting partnership with ADNOC,” stated Beuthan.
He elaborated on this: “We are working on technical exchange with ADNOC and we are sharing expertise and experiences. We see the project as a way for us to provide technical input. We have delivered several technical webinars from our R&D team on number of different topics related to both surface and subsurface which have gone really well.”
This interview first appeared in the January issue of Pipeline Magazine