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Wintershall Norge

Wintershall Worldwide
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04.01.2006

Wintershall expands production in the North SeaRussia still an important partner for energy supply: ”Europe needs a direct connection to Siberian gas sources“

Kassel. Against the backdrop of the gas dispute between the Ukraine and Russia, the Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall AG, Reinier Zwitserloot, has raised the issue of natural gas production in Europe. “Even if the European Union has to rely increasingly on imports of natural gas from Russia and North Africa, considerable potential still remains in the North Sea,“ he said. Wintershall is the largest international producer of oil and natural gas in Germany and a 100% subsidiary of BASF AG.

According to Zwitserloot, the company will continue to expand its activities in the North Sea in the future and is set to invest several hundred million Euros over the next few years. It is already the third largest producer of natural gas in the Netherlands, where it has increased its production five-fold since 2000 to two billion cubic meters annually. Just recently, the German company commissioned its hitherto largest natural gas production platform in the southern North Sea. Now Wintershall is extending its activities to the British, Danish and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea. ”We have acquired 15 exploration blocks offshore the United Kingdom and are also increasing our production in Norway. The North Sea still has many small and medium-sized natural gas fields to be developed, particularly in the Norwegian sector“, said Zwitserloot. Around half the natural gas currently consumed in Germany comes from the North Sea border states of Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom; 16 percent comes from German gas sources and 35 percent from the Russian Federation.

”In terms of security of supply in the growing European gas market, Russia is and remains the most important player“, emphasizes Zwitserloot. ”We are therefore looking to further consolidate our long-standing and successful partnership with Gazprom as part of our ‘Gas for Europe’ concept. Nevertheless, the European Union should take steps to strengthen its energy supply and make a clear commitment to domestic oil and natural gas production.“ Wintershall is willing to invest more in the latest technology to prolong the production time of existing older fields and to provide the economic framework for developing reservoirs that are difficult to exploit. ”For these decisions, we need framework conditions in Europe that guarantee companies calculability and planning reliability for their investments in the long term“, says Zwitserloot.

On the matter of the difficulties associated with transporting gas through the Ukraine, Zwitserloot adds that Europe as a whole must do much more in terms of independence from political and economic instabilities along existing transit routes. “The construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline is an important step towards establishing a direct connection between Germany and Western Europe and Russian natural gas sources.“

The latest information concerning activities in the North Sea is available online in the press section at www.wintershall.com.

Wintershall AG, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF AG in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for more than 70 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 area. Today, the company is Germany's largest crude oil and natural gas producer.

Contact: Michael Sasse

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