Production principles: REEM

Producing oil safely and efficiently

RDG applies the REEM principle in its oil production activities. This enables efficient production of this high-tech resource within the context of domestic and decentralised energy supply, and with minimal impact on the environment.

Regional direct use

Oil is an irreplaceable high-tech resource for the domestic chemical industry. Regional companies use it in the production of raw materials and basic chemicals for downstream industrials. These are the basic materials for countless everyday objects, and ensure the success of a broad spectrum of industry segments in Germany. The production of the high-tech resource oil by RDG is a prerequisite for a wide range of versatile plastics that form the basis of high-quality products from local and regional production that are exported around the globe.

One example of this is composite thermal insulation systems, which, due to their outstanding energy-saving abilities, are gaining particular relevance throughout the world. The better the insulation of a building, the less energy it requires to maintain comfortable room temperatures. Modern composite thermal insulation systems are manufactured from a variety of plastics and other materials that fulfil various different functions. Of particular importance here is the strong adhesion of insulation materials to underlying substrates. The key to this is a dispersible polymer powder that is used in the production of an innovative bonding mortar.

This evens out irregularities of the substrate and simultaneously creates a permanent bond between the wall and the insulation board. Both the dispersion powder and the insulation boards themselves are manufactured on the basis of plastics, in this case vinyl acetate, ethylene and rigid polystyrene foam. All these plastics are produced from domestic mineral oil, and are used in construction projects around the globe world.

Domestically produced oil is also used in the manufacturing of packaging films, floor coverings, seals, tubing and foams for mattresses, car seats and furniture. Further applications for plastics made from oil include plastic bottles and packaging materials for food and cosmetics.


Efficient production

Modern production methods enable the efficient production of the high-tech resource oil. RDG can draw on many years of professional expertise in this area. Today, the entire production process requires significantly less in the way of resources, which, amongst other benefits, also means optimised energy utilisation.

Once an oil reservoir has been proved by drilling, the well is cemented and tubing is installed. At first, the oil is forced to the surface by natural pressure within the reservoir. A ‘Christmas tree’ with valves and pressure gauges is mounted over the borehole to control the flow of oil into storage tanks. As long as the natural pressure within the reservoir is sufficient, the oil and attendant gas flow to the surface without further technical assistance. When the pressure falls too far, a variety of methods can be employed to help bring the oil to the surface.

Often, water is injected into the reservoir to increase the oil recovery rate. This prevents the formation of cavities and the pressure build-up drives the oil towards the well. The decades of experience built up by RDG’s former parent company, RAG, has been successfully employed for the extraction of valuable resources in many different projects. In collaboration with international and regional partners, and using proven technologies, the Austrian company has developed reserves in numerous small and medium-sized reservoirs. From the company’s founding to the present day, RAG has drilled over 1,200 wells with a combined depth of over two million metres.


Renewable energy utilisation

The production of geothermal energy – one of the most promising and sustainable forms of renewable energy – can be ideally combined with oil production. Geothermal energy is dependable, and available to consumers 24/7 all year round at stable prices. As the subsurface temperature in central Europe increases by around 3°C every 100 metres, boreholes in strata at depths of up to 2.100 metres are ideal for the exploitation of the high temperatures encountered at such depths.

With projects of this kind, RDG is making an exemplary contribution towards the integration of conventional and renewable energy production. Experience has shown that the average temperature at a depth of 2.100 metres is generally around 75°C. This deep subsurface temperature is suitable for the deployment of a deep borehole heat exchanger (DBHE) for the transportation of heat energy to the surface. Here, the efficiency is significantly higher than that of the near-surface heat pumps that are typically used for heat generation for private homes.

The underlying principle: In a closed-loop system, the heat contained in the rock is transported to the surface by treated water. In a closed loop, a heat exchanger extracts energy from the hot water, the resulting cooled water is returned to the geothermal reservoir where the cycle begins again – a perfect example of a constantly regenerative energy cycle. The extracted heat is fed into district heating networks or supplied to other customers such as thermal spas by means of heavily insulated raised or buried piping systems.

The production of geothermal energy using a deep borehole heat exchanger is one of the most innovative combinations of conventional energy production and renewable energy extraction and an important step on the way to future decentralised and independent energy supply concepts.


Minimal environmental impact

State-of-the-art technology makes it possible to drill a well within a period of between six and eight weeks without negative impact on the environment or local residents. Drilling is barely visible, causes no noise pollution and requires a minimal site area. This ensures minimum impact on the local ecosystem and the local residents’ everyday lives.

The site area required for production is around 10.000 m2, the same area as two football pitches. Production sites are asphalted and fenced off. During production, buildings with a height of two metres are erected on the site. The oil produced is transported to local refineries by road tankers.
As the production process itself is almost silent, there is no risk of disturbance to wildlife or natural habitats in the surrounding area by noise emissions.

Site renaturation is carried out after the end of production. Once this is complete, no signs of drilling or production remain.

Further information