What is oil and gas extraction

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation


The North Sea is one of the most important European production areas for the offshore industry. There are large oil and gas deposits here that are used economically. Overall, there are just a few 500 platforms in the North Sea, mostly in UK waters, followed by Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark. The British and Norwegian parts of the North Sea contain by far the largest oil reserves.

The only oil production platform in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park is currently located in the German North Sea. The only active German gas production platform is in the so-called “duck bill” of the exclusive economic zone near the Doggerbank.

Oil production in the German Baltic Sea ceased in 2000.

Although the safety precautions for accident prevention have been steadily improved over the past decades, the risks and effects of oil and gas exploration such as leaks or even oil accidents on the production platforms, pipelines or transport ships remain. And even the preliminary explorations can affect the marine biodiversity.


Conveyor systems in German seas

The field Mittelplate is the greatest known German oil field. It was opened up in 1987 by Mittelplate, the only active oil rig in the German North Sea. It is located near the coast in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. The approval for this was given before the establishment of the national park and is therefore grandfathered. The production permit runs until 2041. A few years ago, additional boreholes were also made into the oil field from land, so that oil is now being produced both on land and from the drilling platform.

This oil field is still the most productive in Germany: In 2018, 1.1 million tons of oil were extracted from the entire Mittelplate / Dieksand oil field from a total of 26 production wells (from land and sea).

Exploration drilling to explore this field may only be carried out from land or from the Mittelplate drilling platform itself, and no longer from other positions within the Wadden Sea National Park.

The Wadden Sea with its biodiversity is very sensitive to oil pollution.


The only German offshore natural gas fieldin the North Sea, A6 / B4 has been producing natural gas on the Doggerbank since 2000. The platform produced around 35 million m³ in 2018, but due to the high average calorific value, the clean gas extraction was the equivalent of 44 million m3. The output has been falling for several years. The gas is transported directly to the mainland via a pipeline.

In the area of ​​the mouth of the Ems (Dukegat), natural gas was produced on the unmanned Manslagt Z1 platform between 1993 and 2009. The platform was dismantled from 2012 to 2013.

Oil production in the German Baltic Sea took place from 1984 to 2000 on the platforms Schwedeneck A and Schwedeneck B, which are about 4 km off the Schleswig-Holstein Baltic Sea coast. Both platforms have now been dismantled.

A variety of Pipelines also crosses the German seas, especially for the transport of natural gas.

The location of the pipelines is also shown on the BSH's usage maps.