Germany’s Wintershall said that the unmanned mini-platform L6-B has started producing natural gas off the Dutch North Sea coast.
The first so called “Minimum Facility” platform was built in just nine months and brought to its offshore location in June 2014.
The advantage of this new generation of platforms is that they can be deployed in particularly shallow waters and can economically produce even from very small natural gas fields, according to Wintershall.
The platform is located in field L6-B in the middle of a restricted military zone, and Wintershall Noordzee is the first company that is allowed to operate in this area.
The installation needs to be as small as possible, and may well be the smallest topside known, Wintershall said.
The facility is anchored in the seabed through suction piles, rises about 18 meters above the sea and has three decks but no helideck.
It can accommodate maximum 2 producing wells. The substructure weighs 1,100 tons, the top side just around 100 tons. To compare, the close by platform L8-P4 weighs 4,500 tons.
From there the mini-platform is controlled, operated and supplied with electricity. A pipeline will transport the gas produced in L6-B to the neighboring platform L8-P4.