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    Wintershall DEA To Abandon Saxony Gas Wells Early


Two earthquakes in Lower Saxony have led to an early abandonment.

by: William Powell

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Wintershall DEA To Abandon Saxony Gas Wells Early

German independent Wintershall DEA has agreed to pay compensation and not to expand gas production after "two noticeable earthquakes" damaged buildings in Lower Saxony November 20, it said December 5. It said further production from the already developed wells was justifiable but not further development work; so the wells will be allowed to empty and then be shut down.

It said the settlement of the claims would be "quick and unbureaucratic" and that it would "no longer expand production from the natural gas fields of Volkersen and Volkersen-Nord, so that production will gradually decline in the coming years."

The tremors at the surface led to vibrations of 2.1 (1830 local time) and another four hours later of 5.1 mm/second and "both could be felt in particular by citizens located northeast of the town."

It expects no further structural damage to building but it said it would continue to expand the seismographic surveillance network and intensify scientific monitoring. It did not say whether it was hydraulically fracturing the rocks to extract gas but it did say that the natural gas reservoir at Volkersen is around 5 km below ground and under a "mighty cap rock. Consequently, discernible earth tremors for the Volkersen gas field were not expected when production commenced there in 1992. Contrary to those expectations, however, tremors that are very likely attributable to gas production have occurred in the past."