Wintershall acquires five new exploration licenses in Norway
Oslo/Kassel. In the latest licensing round, APA 2007, the Norwegian Energy Ministry awarded Wintershall Norge A.S. shares in five new exploration licenses. Of these, the BASF subsidiary was awarded two new licenses in the European Arctic Sea and three new licenses in the Norwegian North Sea. With a share of 40 percent, Wintershall will be the operator in license areas PL 472 (Maersk 35%, Bridge 25%) and PL 474 (Maersk 30%, Aker Exploration 30%) in the Norwegian Sea off the coast of Central Norway. Wintershall was also awarded shares in licenses PL 465 (Wintershall 40%, Nexen 60%), PL 462 S (Wintershall 30%, Nexen 40%, Aker Exploration 30%) und PL 461 (Wintershall 15%, Statoil Hydro 50%, Genesis 15%, Petoro 20%) in the Norwegian North Sea off the coast of Bergen. "This successful allocation, which complied fully with our application, will help us make considerable progress in the implementation of our strategy in Norway," said Eckhard Oehms, Head of Wintershall Norge A.S., which was formed at the end of 2005 to coordinate exploration and production activities in Norway. After seismic and geological work has been completed the first Wintershall-operated exploration wells should be operating by 2010.
The Norwegian Energy Ministry awarded Wintershall the qualification to work as an operator and licensee in Norway in 2004. Last year, with a majority shareholding in license PL 443, Wintershall commenced its operator activities in Norway. With operatorships in three license areas and participation in a total of 12 licenses Wintershall has positioned itself as an active company in the E&P industry in Norway. "Because of its proximity to the European market Norway is predestined to supply Europe with natural gas and, as a production location, fits very well into our "Gas for Europe" strategy, says Wintershall Board Member Bernhard Schmidt, who is responsible for exploration and development. Norway is the fourth largest producer of natural gas in the world and one of the most important supply countries in the European Union.
Wintershall has been active in the North Sea since 1965 and now operates 26 platforms – 25 of these in Dutch territorial waters and one in German waters. Since summer 2006 Wintershall has acquired exploration rights to around 50 blocks and sub-blocks in the German, British, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch areas of the North Sea, which will be explored for new gas and oil deposits.
Wintershall, 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 75 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. Wintershall will expand its exploration and production activities for crude oil and natural gas in the North Sea. To do this, the largest oil and gas producer based in Germany will invest more than 300 million euros by 2010. Around half of the natural gas currently consumed in Europe comes from the countries bordering the North Sea – Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK and Germany.