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Wintershall awarded for Libya communications The International German PR Award 2012 hounours responsibiltiy assumed by Wintershall in the partner country

Kassel / Wiesbaden. The Arab Spring came not just as a surprise for the people in North Africa. Foreign companies that have long been engaged there were also faced with major challenges. The comprehensive communications that BASF subsidiary Wintershall achieved in this situation in its partner country Libya were honoured by the International German PR Award 2012 as the best “change, conflict and crisis communications”. Wintershall, Germany’s leading internationally active oil and natural gas producer, has been working for more than 50 years in Libya. When the uprising began, staff from Wintershall Libya were exposed to considerable danger. In addition, the company faced serious economic consequences – particularly after Germany abstained from the Libya Resolution in the World Security Council.

“We provided our colleagues in Libya with quick and targeted help,” says Michael Sasse, head of corporate communications at Wintershall. “But not just that, we also assumed responsibility by providing humanitarian aid and, last but not least, our successful communications have enabled us to establish a firm place in the new Libya. We are absolutely delighted that the jury members for the German PR Award have honoured this work from our team.”

Immediately after fighting started in February 2012, Wintershall not only set up a crisis team and a hotline for staff and relatives but also launched a comprehensive range of aid measures. For example, the company from Kassel supported the emergency aid provided by the Red Crescent, International Red Cross and the Save the Children charity, as well as an airlift that enabled critically injured war casualties to be treated in Germany. Wintershall employees throughout the world were kept fully up to date by means of special pages on the Intranet and in the staff newspaper.

“The partly around-the-clock deployment of our communications proved to be worthwhile,” explains Stefan Leunig, press spokesman for Wintershall and a member of the crisis team. “In particular, the internal communication led to increased motivation and identification with the company. For example, we were able to restart oil production in the Libyan Desert immediately after fighting ceased in October 2011.” The media analysis also showed that Wintershall was able to position itself as a close partner of Libya in the external communications.
The International German PR Award is considered to be the most prestigious PR award in the German-speaking world. With this prize, the Deutsche Public Relations Gesellschaft (DPRG), the F.A.Z.-Institut and further partners honour excellence in communications management. The prize ceremony took place on Friday evening in a festive gala.

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. 

Contact: Stefan Leunig