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Norwegian-German friendship in all its gloryChristmas tree for the German capital / Wintershall sponsors unique decorations on the Norwegian Christmas Tree at the Brandenburg Gate for the second time

Berlin / Kassel. The traditional start of Advent in Berlin is once again being celebrated this year entirely in the spirit of the Norwegian-German friendship: since 1990, Norway has presented the German capital with a magnificent fir tree as a very special kind of Christmas greeting. This year’s tree, which has been erected at Pariser Platz, originates from the Norwegian "Christmas town" of Drøbak, which is situated on the Oslofjord. The Christmas tree decorations will once again provide a unique seasonal ambience. These were specially designed for the Berlin Christmas Tree by female artists from the SHE Design Studios in Oslo. As was the case last year, the tree decorations have been sponsored by Wintershall, which is Germany’s largest internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer.

The Christmas tree will light up for the first time in all its glory on the First Sunday of Advent (2 December) at 5 pm. In addition to Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Trond Giske, Berlin`s Permanent Secretary Hella Dunger-Löper and Martin Bachmann, the Wintershall Executive Board member responsible for exploration and production, will be taking part in the lighting ceremony. The festive act will be accompanied with music from the Norwegian bands "Katzenjammer" and the "Tre trompeters". The Norwegian Rowing Club Berlin will also ensure that the start of Advent in Berlin leaves nothing to desire in culinary terms with bratwurst, mulled wine and waffles.

“The Norwegian Christmas Tree in Berlin symbolises the close and increasingly growing cooperation between Norway and Germany. Examples of this in the energy and economic sectors include the two new agreements between Wintershall and Statoil. I’m delighted to be able to join the festivities celebrating this Advent tradition this year,” says the Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister, Trond Giske. “Germany is Norway’s most important partner in Europe. The Norwegian Christmas Tree recalls our shared European history and strengthens our conviction that our close, productive and friendly cooperation presents joint opportunities,” adds Norway’s Ambassador to Germany, Sven Svedman.

For Wintershall Executive Board Member Martin Bachmann, the company’s annual commitment on behalf of the Berlin Christmas Tree has already developed into a special company tradition: “A Christmas tree from Norway at the Brandenburg Gate – I can’t think of a more wonderful symbol of the Norwegian-German friendship. Which is why we are even more delighted at Wintershall that we were also able to be involved this year. As a German oil and gas company that is strongly committed to Norway, this partnership between our two countries has a particularly high value,” says Bachmann.

Successfully positioned: Wintershall in Norway

As an integrated exploration and production company, Germany’s largest internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer has successfully positioned itself in Norway since the middle of the last decade – as a local partner that in future will be one of the leading operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Wintershall has just recently concluded an important agreement with the Norwegian oil company, Statoil ASA. As part of an asset swap, Wintershall Norge will increase its daily production next year from around 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) at the moment to almost 40,000 boe. In conjunction with this, Wintershall will also take over the operatorship of a large production platform in Norway for the very first time.

Wintershall Holding GmbH, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active 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, North Africa, South America, as well as Russia and the Caspian Sea region. In addition, these operations are complemented by the company’s growing exploration activities in the Arabian Gulf. Today, the company employs more than 2,000 staff worldwide from 40 nations and is now Germany’s largest crude oil and natural gas producer. With the natural gas trading and transport subsidiaries it operates together with Russia’s Gazprom, the BASF subsidiary is also an important gas supplier on the German and European market.

With over 40 licences and more than 20 operatorships, Wintershall Norge AS is one of the largest licence holders in Norway. In 2011, the company invested around half of its worldwide exploration budget solely in the Norwegian continental shelf. By the end of 2015, Wintershall is planning to invest up to two billon euros in exploring and developing fields in Norway and the UK. The intention is to increase the daily production volumes by more than tenfold to a total of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2015, whereby the Knarr, Edvard Grieg and Cladhan fields shall help achieve this goal. The company, which is headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, employs more than 200 members of staff.

Wintershall. Shaping the Future.

Contact: Verena Sattel