Wintershall AG specializes in energy and is a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF AG, based in Ludwigshafen. Together with its affiliates, Wintershall is active in exploration, production and trading of crude oil and natural gas. In addition the Kassel-based company markets capacities for crude oil and natural gas storage, natural gas transportation and optical fibers. Wintershall has been active in the exploration and production of oil and gas for over 70 years. The company has its headquarters in Kassel and is now Germany’s largest producer of crude oil and natural gas. In its exploration and production activities, Wintershall is deliberately focusing on selected core regions where the company possesses a wealth of regional and technological expertise. These regions include Europe, North Africa and South America, as well as Russia and the Caspian area. Wintershall is the operating company in more than 60 per cent of production.
The company is actively pursuing a policy of ongoing investment in the development of new discoveries and the expansion of existing fields. In this context Wintershall attaches the same importance to the stringent requirements in terms o environmental protection and work safety as it does to its economic targets. In 2003 the company succeeded in increasing its production by 12 per cent to 13.68 (2002:12.26) million tones oil equivalent. This higher production volume was replaced in full by new proven reserves. Compared to the previous year, the production of oil and condensate in 2003 saw an increase of 7 per cent to 8.6 million tones, while the production of natural gas saw an increase of 21 per cent to 6.1 billion cubic meters.
Wintershall’s second core activity sector, after exploration and production, is natural gas trading. The overall sales volume for all three of our affiliates – WINGAS, WIEH (Wintershall Erdgas Handelshaus GmbH) and WIEE (Wintershall Erdgas Handelshaus Zug AG) amounted to 286.5 billion kilowatt-hours in 2003, thereby exceeding the figures for the previous year by 47.9 billion kilowatt-hours (+20 per cent). Of those, 161.0 billion kilowatt-hours were accounted for WINGAS, which was able to increase its sales by 29.9 billion kilowatt-hours (+23 per cent) compared to 2002.
Since 1990 WINGAS (65 % Wintershall, 35% Gazprom) has been active in the supply of natural gas. Via its network of pipelines that now extends to over 2,000 kilometers, it is already supplying natural gas to public utilities, major industrial facilities and regional gas distribution companies in Germany and other European countries. Since the start of 2003 WINGAS has been marketing its natural gas in Belgium and has already been able to secure a 6% market share. The company’s activities in the UK have been expanded as well, with HydroWingas, a joint venture with Norsk Hydro, having been set up to market natural gas. With its storage facility at Rehden, which provides a current gas volume of over four billion cubic meters, WINGAS possesses about one fifth of the total storage capacity available in Germany. Wintershall employs more than 1550 staff from more than 30 countries.