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Crude oil from domestic sourcesWintershall is continuing to develop its domestic production of crude oil and natural gas

Wintershall is continuing to develop its domestic production of crude oil and natural gas. The BASF subsidiary is investing around 30 million euros alone in twelve new wells at its Emlichheim site in Lower Saxony – drilling work on six of these twelve wells was already completed by the end of the year. Two of the wells have now begun to recover oil.

"We also want to continue steaming up the oil in future," says Horst Prei, Wintershall’s Operations Manager in Emlichheim. One of the oldest oil fields in Germany, Emlichheim is situated on the German-Dutch border. Here, Wintershall has been producing oil at a consistently high level for the last 70 years – that is worldwide unique. The BASF subsidiary has been using the technically demanding steam flooding process since 1981.

"We believe that this site will continue to supply Germany with oil for the next 25 years," says Prei, whereby the 12 new wells started in September 2016 are intended to help. They are connected to the well-known Bentheimer Sandstone oil reservoir, which lies at a depth of 700 to 900 meters. Wintershall will complete the ongoing drilling campaign in spring 2017.

Eight of the twelve wells will be later used for producing oil, while four of the wells will be used to inject hot steam into the reservoir. Wintershall injects this hot water vapour into the reservoir under high pressure at a temperature of 300 degrees Celsius. The oil trapped in the rock warms up, becomes runnier and flows more easily to the production wells. This steam flooding process has enabled plateau production to be maintained here for a uniquely long period in international comparison. In combination with the horizontal drilling technique, this results in an above-average oil recovery rate of more than 40 percent – usual is about 30 percent.

Meanwhile, Wintershall has successfully completed drilling operations for a new oil well at its Aitingen site near Augsburg, and has also now started production there. The BASF subsidiary has been recovering oil in the alpine foothills since 1979, and is the largest crude oil producer in Bavaria.

Domestic oil production not only contributes to ensuring the security of our energy in Germany. Crude oil from domestic sources is also an indispensable natural resource in everyday life – there would be no medicines, wind turbines or iPads without crude oil. Wintershall also gains important expertise from its production in Germany that makes it at all possible for it to access international energy sources and open doors to global partnerships.

The general public also shows considerable interest in Wintershall’s activities in Germany. Around 600 members of the public inspected the drilling rig that the BASF subsidiary currently uses in Emlichheim during an open day. Around 250 members of the public also visited the drilling site in Aitingen. "Such drill site visits not only ensure local acceptance, they also enable us to cultivate our excellent neighbourly relations that we have enjoyed over decades," says Andreas Scheck, head of Wintershall’s German activities.

You can find further details about the drilling projects on the Internet at

The work on the drilling site in moving pictures – that’s shown by the film on Wintershall’s YouTube channel: