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NAM to restart drilling at Dutch onshore oilfield

Reuters

Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:39am EST

AMSTERDAM, Feb 11 (Reuters) – The Dutch NAM oil joint venture, owned by Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), said on Wednesday it would start drilling at an onshore Dutch oilfield this week with production set to restart in 2010.

The Schoonebeek field, in the north eastern Netherlands close to the German border, produced 250 million barrels of oil between 1947 and 1996, but was halted because production became unprofitable.

But NAM said due to modern techniques it was ready to take another look at the field, which it hopes to run for 20-25 years from 2010 and produce between 100-120 million barrels of oil.

“In the last few weeks we have been fine-tuning, tomorrow will be the official start of the drilling,” said a NAM spokeswoman.

“We know more about the field now and where to go. With the new techniques of the new pumps it makes it altogether more profitable to go back now.”

She said that despite the recent drop in the oil price by more than 70 percent since a high of $147 reached in July, the project would still be profitable when taking a long-term view of the oil price.

She said the field, which was discovered in 1943, would supply a refinery operated by oil major BP (BP.L) in Lingen, just over the border in Germany.

She said at present NAM had no other major plans to reopen oilfields in the Netherlands but was always looking for opportunities. She said it was focusing on the Schoonebeek project, which is costing hundreds of millions of euros.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; Editing by Keiron Henderson)

 

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