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Forsa survey: Broad support for further oil production in the Wadden Sea25th anniversary of the Mittelplate drilling and production platform / Schleswig-Holstein population supports development of new deposits / Citizens: Federal state should invest production revenues in education and reducing public deficit

Kiel. 27 million tonnes of crude oil in 25 years – the Mittelplate drilling and extraction platform off the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein provides a major pillar in Germany’s crude oil production. Germany’s northernmost federal sate is therefore making an important contribution to securing Germany’s energy provision. By way of comparison: the 1.4 million tonnes extracted by Mittelplate each year exceeds the volume of crude oil imported by Germany from Saudi Arabia. Wintershall and RWE Dea now want to invest further in the offshore field in the Wadden Sea. There is also backing from the population: the vast majority of Schleswig-Holstein’s population supports the research and development of further oil deposits in the Wadden Sea. That is the outcome of a representative survey conducted by the forsa opinion research institute to mark Mittelplate’s 25th anniversary.

For example, 91 percent of the people surveyed in Schleswig-Holstein have expressed their clear support for further production at the existing Mittelplate production platform in the Wadden Sea provided that the highest environmental and safety standards continue to be met. Supporters of all political parties have expressed broad support for the continued operation of Mittelplate. For example, 81 percent of the Green Party supporters also expressed their support for the continued operation of the offshore platform in the environmentally sensitive Wadden Sea.

In addition, 69 percent of the Schleswig-Holstein people also support the extraction of new oil reserves from the existing drilling and production platform or from the mainland. This broad approval for exploring and developing new oil reserves can again be found among supporters for almost all political parties. With 52 percent, it is only a small majority of supporters for the German political party Die Linke who reject the exploration and development of new deposits. 
Mittelplate is not only considerably important for securing energy supplies in Germany: in addition to the roughly 1000 jobs in the industry, the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein also benefits economically from the annual revenue provided by the oil extraction duties. Last year alone, Wintershall and RWE Dea paid the federal state oil royalties amounting to around 120 million euros.

In response to the question as to how the revenue from the oil production should be spent, the citizens of Schleswig-Holstein have listed their priorities: 27 percent of the surveyed citizens want this revenue spent on education and schools, while a further 21 percent would like to see the funds used for reducing the public sector deficit. 17 percent believe the funds should be used for reducing the high energy prices, and 16 percent want it spent on environmental protection measures.

“The outcome of the survey shows the high level of acceptance for oil production in the sensitive Wadden Sea habitat, and acknowledges the eco-friendly and accident-free work that we have been achieving for a quarter of a century in the Wadden Sea,” said Martin Bachmann, the Wintershall Executive Board Member responsible for the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, at an official celebration in Friedrichskoog.

Thanks to the high ecological standards – the operation has been running completely trouble-free since production began 25 years ago, Mittelplate is considered to be an international flagship project in terms of reconciling environmental protection with economic production. Both RWE Dea (the operation company) and Wintershall, which is Germany’s largest internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer, have 50 percent shares in the Mittelplate drilling and production platform. The two partners have invested a total of around 1 billion euros until now.
Geologists assume that their are further oil deposits near Mittelplate, which is Germany’s largest oil field, as well as along the Lower Saxony coast near Cuxhaven. As the operator of two consortia to which Wintershall also belongs, RWE Dea is planning to sink four exploratory wells to investigate them. These will be used to verify the presumed existence of around 23 million tonnes of crude oil. If this test drilling is successful, this would double the existing proven crude oil reserves in Germany, which currently amount to 22.8 million tonnes.

On behalf of Wintershall and to mark the 25th anniversary of the Mittelplate oil field as an important milestone in Germany’s domestic energy production, the forsa opinion research institute carried out a survey in October in which it questioned 1,002 citizens from the age of 18 upwards who live in Schleswig-Holstein.

Note for journalists:
Journalists can obtain further details on the forsa survey at or by calling the press hotline at 0561-301-3301.

Wintershall Holding GmbH, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the extraction of natural resources for 120 years, and in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for over 80 years. Wintershall focuses on selected core regions where the company has built up a high level of regional and technological expertise. These are Europe, Russia, North Africa, South America, and increasingly the Middle East region. The company wants to expand its business further with exploration and production, selected partnerships, innovation and technological competence. Wintershall employs some 2,500 staff worldwide from 40 nations and is now Germany’s largest,internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer. 

Wintershall. Shaping the Future.