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%, 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%) and 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, 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 operator-ships 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.