Wintershall Norge Awarded Exploration License in Norway

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has awarded Wintershall Norge A.S. one new license in the annual Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) 2006 in the Norwegian Sea. With a working interest of 40% Wintershall will participate together with the second largest Norwegian oil producer Hydro (60%) in the exploration block 6407/9. "Further licenses will be expected in the course of early summer", explains Eckard Oehms, head of Wintershall Norge A.S., which was established late 2005 to coordinate the activities in exploration and production in Norway. "We want to extend our portfolio in this important region that still has a great potential."

In 2004, the Norwegian Energy Ministry already granted Wintershall the right to commence activities as an operator and licensee in Norway. On this basis the 100% BASF-subsidiary started its operations. Through an invitation to bid Wintershall already obtained 20% shares in each of the licenses PL355 and PL385 from the Norwegian government and further holds 25% shares in PL273 where the operator ConocoPhillips will drill its first borehole in the fourth quarter 2007.

Norway is the fourth largest European producer of natural gas and one of the most important supplying countries for the European Union. "With its proximity to the European market, Norway is predestined to supply Europe with natural gas and is thus a production site which fits very well into our "Gas for Europe" strategy," adds Bernhard Schmidt, member of the Board of Wintershall responsible for Exploration and Development.

Wintershall, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF AG in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the exploČration 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. Today, the company is Germany's largest crude oil and natural gas producer.

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