Emslandplan II - The Oil Fields
Within my ongoing longterm project Emslandplan I work on the current state and development of the district Emsland in the German state of Lower Saxonia. Being one of the biggest districts in Germany but mostly covered by bogland, it has been considered the nation's poorhouse until the mid of the 20th century. With the end of World War II and the influx of people from the former eastern territories of Germany the need for agricultural and inhabitable land as well as the discovery of extensive oil and gas resources lead to the foundation of the Emslandplan. Between 1950 and 1989 more than 2 billion DM were spend on infrastructure, drainage projects, and other development measures. By today the former underdeveloped agricultural region flourishes and became a diversified industrialised area. This succesful development made it a rare exception of increasing rural depopulation in Germany. However, the destructions of the bogland comes with a price just as the nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel production in Lingen. I plan to document the remains of the Emslandplan, it's stories of success and failure, it's people, and perspectives.
The Oil Fields cover the extensive exploitation of the Emsland's gas and oil resources, mainly around the oil field Rühle close to Twist. After first findings of oil in Lingen and neighbouring areas in 1942, the bigger Rühle was discovered in 1949 and has been under exploitation since the 1950s. So far it is Germany's largest on-shore oil field and contributes up to almost 50% of the nation's extraction depending on the price per barrel on the oil market. Due to its viscous flow, the extraction comes at higher costs comparing to fields in other regions of the world. In consequence the almost 600 drill holes are opened and closed depending on the current price of crude oil on the world market. The typical pumpjacks are set up and moved around within the bogland covering the field as soon as the extraction becomes profitable. The exploitation of the oil resources lead to a location of highly specialised businesses serving the industry as well as the nearby Emsland refinery in Holthausen-Biene. Hints of pipelines to transport the oil can be found all over the area.