Wintershall continues to expand its activities in the Middle East. In the Emirate of Qatar, the company currently operates two exploration blocks. Wintershall has a strong interest in the region, because Qatar’s natural gas reserves of around 26 billion cubic meters are the third largest in the world, after Russia and Iran. Since 2008, Wintershall has held the gas exploration rights for Block 4N in Qatar’s territorial waters (an area of 544 square kilometers, with a water depth of around 70 meters), directly adjacent the North Field, the world’s largest gas field. In the third quarter of 2009, experts used 2D/3D seismic surveys to explore the area. In 2010, the first exploratory well in the Khuff Formation of Block 4N was drilled.
Directly off the coast of Qatar and in addition to Block 4N, Wintershall is also involved in Block 3. Covering an area of 1,666 square kilometers, it is significantly larger than Block 4N. The first 3D seismic surveys of the area were completed in summer 2010 with further exploration wells planned for the coming years. The seismic surveys required precision work from Wintershall’s experts as in some areas, the water was only 10 meters deep and contained obstructions such as shipwrecks. Before any actual measurements could be taken, the water had to be charted to prevent the survey vessel from running aground.