Wintershall - here to stayWintershall is an international oil and gas company and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF
Out on the furthest reaches of Jåttåvågen, beside the leaning tower, are the offices of the oil company Wintershall. That’s the company with the slightly difficult name, which is pronounced ‘Vinters-hall’.
Wintershall is an international oil and gas company with operations on four continents and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF in Germany. Around one year ago, Wintershall Norge moved into its new office building in Hinna Park. Before that, they had been spread across three buildings, but head office paid for the construction of a new office building which could accommodate all its employees.
“The employees really like it here. At Hinna we have access to almost everything: shopping centre, restaurants, railway station and lovely outdoor areas. We have around 300 staff in Stavanger now, but there is space for 650. The office building is the first in Northern Europe to have the BREEAM environmental certificate, which shows that we are an environmentally-friendly building”, explained Peter Schwarz, Wintershall Norge’s communication specialist.
“We are also the first operator on the Norwegian shelf to be certified as an energy manager. We are always looking for ways to save energy, and we look at everything from really simple things like using LED lighting offshore instead of traditional light bulbs, to replacing gas turbines with batteries”.
“At the moment, our daily production is around 100,000 barrels of oil equivalents, which makes us one of the major producers in Norway. Our forthcoming merger with DEA will make us the same size as Aker BP, our neighbour here in Hinna Park”, said Schwarz. “The Maria field, which came onstream in December 2017, was our first development project. It shows that we can deliver in Norway. The key to our success has been skilled suppliers”.
Including Brage and Vega, the company is now the operator of three producing fields on the Norwegian shelf. Wintershall took over as the operator of both Brage and Vega. “We are planning to start more production from developments which we will operate ourselves, and are well underway with the Nova project”, said Schwarz.
Working with NAV
“Our strategy is to work with permanent employees in a smarter way. When the downturn in the oil industry hit in 2014, we avoided job cuts and redundancies. We shielded the trainee programme to ensure that we have the skills and expertise needed to tackle the generation shift in our industry”, said Schwarz, adding that they are also working with NAV to help people who are out of work or trying to get into work. “We have had a total of 19 people on work experience programmes. The goal is to transform them into active job-seekers, and several have been successful. The work experience programmes have been in the fields of finance, communication, HSE, HR, administration, geology and other engineering professions”.
Research and development
Wintershall has cultivated close relationships with the best technological universities and research institutes in Stavanger and Trondheim. “We are working closely with them to improve oil and gas recovery and promote efficiency throughout the value chain. We have also enjoyed hosting several students this summer. Some have been here as part of the work on their Master's theses, and some have been here on summer jobs. All this allows us to be even more creative, open, responsible and enterprising”, said Schwarz.
Contracts to the local community
The Nova field will be developed with two subsea templates which will be tied back to the existing Gjøa platform for processing and export. Seadrill will operate the rig which is to drill six subsea wells on Nova. The work will start in the first half of 2020, and the field will come onstream in 2021.
Locally in Rogaland, Aker in Egersund and the Rosenberg yard in Stavanger will both be involved in developing the Nova field.
Total investments in the Nova development are estimated to be around NOK 9.9 billion. By 2020, the company is expecting to have invested around NOK 18 billion in exploration and development on the Norwegian shelf.
Civic engagement is important
Wintershall is the main sponsor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, and also sponsors Hinna Football Club, Teknolab and the Church City Mission.
“We try to provide publicity for our wonderful partners as often as we can, by means such as including them in team-building and other events. The SSO has played several times with our company band and choir, and last year we also had an event for all the employees here in Jåttåvågen, with activities in the local area. On that occasion we had stands all over the area, at which we did everything from knitting scarves at the Church City Mission, to making Lego robots with the students from Teknolab”, said Peter Schwarz.