Wintershall invests in traditional crude oil production in South GermanyFurther development of Aitingen operations near Augsburg / Possible resumption of crude oil production in Oberschwaben
Munich. Wintershall is expanding its traditional crude oil production operations in South Germany. As well as developing the site in Aitingen, near Augsburg in Bavaria, the BASF subsidiary is looking into resuming development of two old fields in Baden-Württemberg, Mönchsrot and Hauerz, and is testing oil production in the Unterallgäu district. The company also plans to build up its operations at Landau in Rhineland-Palatinate. “Crude oil from sources in southern Germany makes an important contribution to supply security. And crude oil from South Germany is high-quality oil. That makes producing in this part of Germany doubly worthwhile,” explained Andreas Scheck, head of Wintershall Deutschland, at the German Energy Congress in Munich.
Wintershall has been producing crude oil in Aitingen near Augsburg since 1979 and is the largest producer of crude oil in Bavaria. The BASF subsidiary was able to raise production here by about half since 2010 and is planning to continue developing production with at least one new well in 2016. It has already completed two exploration wells in the Unterallgäu area (in Bedernau and Lauben). In the next six months the BASF subsidiary will test whether resuming traditional oil production here is commercially feasible.
Wintershall is also looking into developing two old fields again, Mönchsrot and Hauerz in Baden-Württemberg, which, like Aitingen, Bedernau and Lauben, lie in a string of crude oil reservoirs in the foothills of the Alps. 20 years have passed since Wintershall dismantled the last horse head pumps in the Oberschwaben region. Between 1958 and 1995 Wintershall produced around 1.7 million tons of crude oil here. Production was stopped because it was no longer profitable. “After twenty years we want to return there and continue the tradition,” Scheck said.
Oil production in Germany has steadily declined in recent years. “But not at Wintershall – we are keeping our domestic oil production at a stable level. We have been producing crude oil and natural gas here for more than 80 years – and we can continue doing so for several decades to come,” Scheck underlined. Crude oil is the most important raw material for the chemicals industry and is found in many objects of everyday life including clothing and furniture, cell phones and computers, medical products and medicines. Natural gas, on the other hand, is the perfect partner for renewable energies. “So we need traditional oil and gas production in Germany in future too. After all, securing the energy supply in Germany begins on our own doorstep,” Scheck added. “In addition, with domestic production we can develop the knowhow which gives us access to global oil and gas resources.”
Wintershall has been a good and reliable neighbor in southern Germany for decades. The BASF subsidiary has not only produced oil in Bavaria; it has also been producing oil in Landau, in the midst of the southern Rhineland-Palatinate vineyards, for 60 years. The company also plans to strengthen these operations with investments in the coming years. “Our operations in south Germany work with state-of-the-art technology,” Scheck explained.
Yet there was an investment backlog in domestic crude oil and natural gas production, he added – one billion euros overall in the industry. The debate about the use of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas production was blocking traditional production in Germany, he explained. “To unlock this investment, we need a reliable and proportionate policy framework,” Scheck said. Policy-makers in Berlin intend to pass legislation in the next few weeks which will lay the groundwork for the future of oil and gas production in Germany.
Wintershall Deutschland, based in Barnstorf in Lower Saxony, forms the centre of Wintershall’s exploration and production activities. This is where crucial know-how on drilling and production technologies is developed and applied worldwide. The company has been producing domestic crude oil since 1930. It has been producing natural gas since 1951. Among other things, Wintershall is the operator of the only gas production platform in the German North Sea (A6-A) and also has a 50 percent share in the Mittelplate oil field off the German coast, which is Germany’s largest oil field in the North Sea. In addition, it also produces domestic energy around Barnstorf in the district of Diepholz, in Emlichheim (County of Bentheim), in Landau in the Pfalz region and in Aitingen/Schwabmüchen near Augsburg. Wintershall Deutschland employs 400 members of staff.
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.
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