Wintershall Steps Up Exploration in Caspian Sea

Wintershall is stepping up its exploration activities around the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea, one of the world's most dynamic regions of growth. Germany's major producer of natural gas and crude oil will be searching for oil in the Russian part of the northern Caspian Sea, offshore from Daghestan. Wintershall is anticipating that a block south of the Volga delta will offer considerable potential: two promising geological structures have already been identified in the area which covers 8000 square kilometers. Initially it will be a question of analyzing new seismic data. An exploration well in 2004/2005 should then provide information about possible reserves of hydrocarbons within that block.

This exploration in the Caspian Sea has been made possible by the acquisition of a 70 percent share in OOO Megatron NVK, a exploration company, which possesses the sole rights to search for oil in the prospective Tyuleni exploration block. Wintershall will be operator for the entire Exploration and Production activities. "This is a further step in developing our operations in Russia and specifically in the highly promising Caspian region", said Bernhard Schmidt, the Board member at Wintershall responsible for Exploration and Production.

Wintershall already has many years of experience in crude-oil exploration and production in Russia. For over 10 years the company has been running the Wolgodeminoil joint venture together with its Russian partner, Lukoil. Only recently Wintershall set up another joint-venture company with the world's largest gas producer, OAO Gazprom, this time for the production of natural gas. The joint venture OOO Achimgaz, based in Novy Urengoy in western Siberia, is planning to produce natural gas from the Achimov horizon in the Urengoy field.