N05-A platform; Source: One-Dyas

No more legal woes: Offshore wind-powered North Sea project goes full steam ahead toward first gas by year-end

As its project’s legal challenges now seem to be a thing of the past, the Netherlands-headquartered exploration and production player ONE-Dyas is moving at full throttle to bring its gas platform, which will run on offshore wind power in the North Sea, online by the end of 2024.

N05-A platform; Source: One-Dyas

In August 2017, ONE-Dyas discovered the N05-A field, partly located in the Dutch North Sea and partly in the German North Sea. Following the final permits for the N05-A gas project in June 2022, the operator, together with partners Hansa Hydrocarbons and EBN, made a final investment decision in September 2022 for the development of the field, revealing an investment of more than €500 million. 

After the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy granted the permits for the N05-A gas development, several parties filed a lawsuit against the decision to greenlight the project. On April 18, 2024, the court ruled that the decisions relating to the extraction of natural gas and the construction of the pipeline and the electricity cable would be upheld.

In addition, it indicated that the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, in consultation with the Minister for Nature and Nitrogen, had to remedy some defects in the environmental permit. Following some changes, the Dutch authorities gave the go-ahead for the project on May 29.

While justifying this decision, Johannes Alexander ‘Hans’ Vijlbrief, Dutch State Secretary, wrote, among other things: “Immediate entry into force is (…) in the interest of the security of supply of natural gas. (…) Domestically produced gas has the advantage that it has a significantly lower level of greenhouse gas emissions than imported gas.

“The N05-A gas extraction platform will be electrified with wind energy from a nearby offshore wind farm, further reducing emissions to near zero during the production phase. In line with the climate ambitions, the importance of natural gas will have to decrease structurally and as quickly as possible, but even then there will continue to be a certain need for gas in the energy supply for some time to come. After all, the energy transition is not arranged overnight.”

With all permits for the N05-A gas extraction project being deemed valid once again, ONE-Dyas explained that work can continue, thus, all contracted companies are moving swiftly with the final works in the North Sea to ensure that the first natural gas will be available to households and businesses by the end of 2024.

HSM Offshore Energy was tasked with building the N05-A gas production platform at its yard in Schiedam. The company completed the rollout of the N05-A topside in April 2024 at its yard two days after the upper part of the jacket was lifted on its lower counterpart.

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This offshore platform will consist of topsides and a six-legged non-battered jacket with ten well slots, including eight producing and two spare slots, with an installed production capacity of 6 MNm3/day, including an allowance for production via incoming risers of 2.5 MNm3/day. The topside will weigh 3,200 tons, the jacket 2,800 tons, and piles 1,800 tons.

Once operational, this platform will run entirely on renewable energy from the nearby 113.4 MW Riffgat offshore wind farm, built by EWE in 2013 as the first commercially operated wind farm in the German part of the North Sea.

The volume produced from the surrounding prospects and the N05-A project, which is part of the so-called GEMS area located approximately 20 to 80 kilometers north of the Ems estuary, is expected to be 4.5 to 13 billion Nm3.