Wintershall Executive Expects Full Libyan Production in 2Q 2013

STAVANGER, Norway - Wintershall AG, a German oil and natural-gas producer, said Thursday it expected its Libyan production to rise in 2013 to the prewar level of 100,000 barrels per day, and perhaps even higher.

"We are at roughly 80,000 barrels per day at this point in time, and as soon as we get export capacity with a new pipeline, we will be ramping up further," said Martin Bachmann, member of Wintershall's executive board, in an interview at the Offshore Northern Seas oil event in Stavanger on the west coast of Norway.

"We had a pre-war level of roughly 100,000 barrels a day of maximum production which we can certainly reach again, and then we are going to look at some upside from that," Mr. Bachmann said, adding that he expected to reach these levels "in the second quarter of next year" as a new export pipeline is planned for completion in the first quarter.

Mr. Bachmann expressed pleasure at the quick speed of the ramp-up, given that Wintershall's Libyan production was a significant part of the mid-sized oil company's total production of about 400,000 barrels per day.

The company also updated its view on the Skarfjell discovery offshore Norway. The Wintershall-operated Skarfjell has an estimated preliminary resource range between 60 million and 160 million barrels of recoverable oil, but the company was uncertain whether the field could actually deliver these amounts, and had to drill more wells to confirm the size of the discovery.

"We will next year have two appraisal wells on Skarfjell," said Bernd Schrimpf, Wintershall Norge's managing director. "We are in the range of 60 [million] to 160 million barrels. Let's say 60 million might be commercial already, but we weren't able to perform a test. There was no rig time."

Wintershall has a significant presence on the Norwegian continental shelf, being also involved in the Lundin Petroleum AB operated Edvard Grieg field, and the promising Maria and Skarfjell discoveries. Maria is estimated to contain between 60 million and 120 million barrels of recoverable oil and 2 billion to 5 billion standard cubic meters of recoverable natural gas.

The company also has a stake in the Talisman Energy Inc. operated Yme field offshore Norway, which has been significantly delayed. Talisman recently decided to evacuate the Yme oil platform after finding cracks in its support structure, leading to speculation that the platform could be scrapped.

"We are also disappointed about the delay on Yme. But in the consortium we say we have to wait, we have to evaluate the situation. We need further technical analysis" to reach a conclusion about Yme, Mr. Schrimpf said.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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