Germany’s largest internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer continues to expand its activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
Its aim is to make the Norwegian subsidiary Wintershall Norge one of the leading oil and gas companies in Norway. With this focus on Norway, Wintershall is presenting itself at the international exhibition Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) 2012 in Stavanger from 28 to 31 August. At Stand 501 in Hall E, Wintershall experts are informing visitors about the corporate strategy and the current projects in Norway as well as the company’s global activities in oil and gas production.
Supply security begins at the source
“Crude oil as the bedrock of modern industry and natural gas as the ideal partner for renewable energies will continue to be the foundations of the global economy in the coming decades,” Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall, says. “In future securing supply right at the source will be more important than ever. With this in mind, Wintershall focuses on global activities, and on developing and strengthening international energy partnerships.” That applies particularly to Norway. In view of the foreseeable decline in oil and gas production in the EU, the strategic importance of Norway as a European energy supplier alongside Russia will increase.
Positioned successfully: Wintershall in Norway
Wintershall has positioned itself successfully in Norway as a fully integrated exploration and production company: as a partner present in Norway and as one of the leading future operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. With more than 40 licenses – about half as operator – the company is already one of the largest license-holders in Norway. “We accomplished major successes in exploration recently, for example the discovery Maria and this April Skarfjell,” explains Martin Bachmann, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall and responsible for exploration and production.
The Maria discovery is considered one of the largest discoveries in Norway in 2010 with an estimated 60 to 120 million barrels of oil as well as two to five billion standard cubic meters (sm3) of recoverable natural gas. An appraisal well in May confirmed the upper end of the discovery estimate. As part of the development plan, the company is currently examining whether to set up its own production installation or a subsea tie-in to the fields Heidrun or Kristin; the start of production is planned for 2017. The prospects are just as good for Skarfjell, which was discovered in March this year around 17 kilometers south-west of the Gjøa field. Preliminary resource estimates range between 60 and 160 million barrels of recoverable oil. Commercial viability as well as potential further upside will need to be confirmed through appraisal drilling in 2013.
Against this backdrop, Wintershall intends to continue driving forward the exploration of other deposits on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Additional exploration wells are planned for 2012 and 2013. Furthermore, the company is participating in the APA 2012 licensing round and the 22nd licensing round.
Focus on moving from exploration to field development and production
“One of the main goals Wintershall Norge is now focusing on is taking the next step and transferring the excellent discoveries of the last few years to production as quickly and determinedly as possible,” Bernd Schrimpf, Managing Director of Wintershall Norge, explains. By the end of 2015 the company is planning to invest up to 2 billion euros in exploration and field development in Norway and the UK. Field development in Norway will concentrate on Knarr and Edvard Grieg, and on Catcher and Cladhan in the UK. Wintershall aims at raising the daily production to more than tenfold to 50,000 barrels of crude oil equivalent by 2015.
Wintershall Norge combines this growth strategy with the highest standards of safety and environmental protection. “Ultimately, we have to earn our license to operate each and every day,” Bachmann explains. The continuous expansion of Wintershall Norge is also reflected in the fast growing number of employees. Wintershall currently employs more than 200 staff in Stavanger. Moreover, the company is planning to further expand the team to some 300 colleagues by the end of 2013.
From Siberia to the Sahara: Wintershall as a global energy partner
Wintershall is also successful in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas in the Southern North Sea, Germany, North Africa, South America, Russia and the Caspian Sea, and the Middle East region. For example, the company has a strategic partnership with Russia stretching back more than 20 years that extends from the joint production of natural gas at the sources in Siberia to the reliable transit through pipelines right to the customers in Europe. In November 2011, the commercial production phase of the project expansion of Achimgaz, the German-Russian joint venture operated together with Gazprom, was launched with 20 additional wells initially.
In Libya Wintershall is sending a positive signal about the long-term reconstruction of the country: following the production stop in February 2011 for security reasons, the company was able to restart production in the Libyan Desert again from October 2011. The company is currently producing around 75,000 barrels of oil per day. Wintershall is also currently building a pipeline with the Libyan National Oil Corporation which will connect production from the Wintershall concession C96 and the oil field Nafoora, operated by Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Company, with the Amal field. From there the crude oil will be transported onwards to the export port terminal of Ras Lanuf.
World Maritime News, August 30, 2012; Image: Wintershall