Wintershall Hopes to Expand Crude Oil Production in Germany

Wintershall is continuing to invest in crude oil production in Germany. The largest German crude oil and natural gas producer is currently drilling well "Schwabmunchen 5" at Aitingen. The aim of this exploration well is to explore the eastern Schwabmunchen subfield with a view to developing additional sources of crude oil.

Experts are expecting to find a deposit at a depth of 1,300 meters which would be able to produce crude oil for the next 15 years. The wholly owned BASF subsidiary has been producing from the Lechfeld oil field south of Augsburg, where around 32,000 tons of crude oil a year are currently produced, for more than 30 years. That makes the oil production facilities in Aitingen the largest in the pre-Alpine region.

Production has risen 11 percent since 2005 thanks to two additional wells drilled by Wintershall in a drilling initiative in 2004 and 2005.

Experts from Wintershall discovered underground oil deposits between Schwabmunchen and Bobingen in 1976. Production started three years later. "Since the end of the '70s, the pumps in Aitingen have pumped almost 1.3 million tons of crude oil to the surface," noted Bernd Schrimpf, General Manager and the man responsible for Wintershall's activities in Germany.

Current production levels are around 2,700 tons of crude oil and 175,000 cubic meters of associated gas every month. Wintershall operates the oil production facility as operator together with its consortium partner ExxonMobil Production Deutschland GmbH (EMPG) from Hannover.

The wholly owned BASF subsidiary invests continuously in domestic crude oil production. "Although the proportion of crude oil produced here is small compared to overall consumption in Germany -- at 3.7 million tons, domestic production covers just 3 percent of demand in Germany -- any production 'on one's own doorstep' increases supply security," Schrimpf explained. Four wells have already been drilled successfully this year at the Wintershall operations in Emlichheim in Lower Saxony and crude oil is being produced from two of them.

Wintershall is responsible for a large share of total production in Germany: for example, the company is involved in production at Germany's largest crude oil deposit, Mittelplate, in which Wintershall and RWE Dea each have a 50 percent share.

With more than two million tons of crude oil a year, the Mittelplate deposit off the German North Sea coast accounts for almost two thirds of the total production in Germany. Wintershall produces oil from 15 oil fields in Germany overall and is the operator in seven of them.