BASF’s oil and gas activities are bundled in the Wintershall Group. Wintershall and its subsidiaries operate in the business sectors Exploration & Production and Natural Gas Trading.
Exploration & Production
We focus our exploration and production activities on oil and gas-rich regions in Europe, North Africa, Russia and South America as well as in the Middle East.
Natural Gas Trading
Together with our Russian partner Gazprom, we are active in the transport, storage and trading of natural gas in Europe.
How we create value – an example
Steam flooding in Emlichheim
Improved oil production by injecting steam into the oil field
Value for BASF
Production from a deposit increased by 50%
Value for society
Longer oil production at a constant level helps secure energy supplies
Steam flooding is an Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) method that improves yields in oil production. This method involves injecting hot steam under pressure into an oil reservoir to heat the oil, which becomes less viscous and therefore more easily extractable. Usually, around 30% to 35% of the crude oil in a reservoir is recovered. Steam flooding allows us to raise this rate for some parts of the reservoir up to 50% and more.
Germany is dependent on energy imports to a high degree. Using EOR technologies, domestic oil reserves can be produced both longer and more efficiently. We have already used steam flooding to increase production time at the Emlichheim location to 70 years, three times longer than originally planned.
- Pursuit of our growth strategy through exploration, acquisitions, strategic partnerships and technological expertise
- Important contribution to security of Europe’s natural gas supply
In the future, crude oil and natural gas will continue to contribute signiﬁcantly toward covering the sharply rising energy demand of a growing world population. That is why we invest in the exploration and production of oil and gas, primarily in our core regions Europe, North Africa, Russia and South America, thereby continuing along our growth course. We also aim to establish the Middle East as another of our core regions.
Our growth strategy is based on three pillars: innovative technologies, selected collaborations and partnerships, and the responsible development and production of hydrocarbons. In addition to the successful execution of our projects, we focus on continuously optimizing our portfolio of oil and gas activities. Measured by production volumes, gas activities comprised around 70% of our portfolio in 2014. Our oil and gas activities contributed approximately equal shares to income from operations before special items.
Our diversified portfolio, low production and reserves replenishment costs, and our focus on attractive technological and exploration projects have made us able to make significant contributions to the earnings of the BASF Group, even when oil prices are low.
Handling hydrocarbons in a responsible manner demands special measures for the protection of people and the environment. We therefore carefully assess the potential effects of every project before we begin. Together with experts, contractors and relevant stakeholders, we develop methods and implement measures to be able to use resources even more efﬁciently and minimize the impact on the environment. In doing so, we act in accordance with international agreements, local legislation and our own, self-imposed high standards.
We intensified our collaboration with Statoil in 2014 by acquiring additional assets and concluding agreements on joint investment and exploration activities. This increased our Norwegian oil and gas production by 50%, to 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) each day. We will furthermore take over operation of the Vega field.
We agreed with our partner Gazprom not to proceed with the asset swap planned for the end of 2014. The arrangement had been for Wintershall to give Gazprom its share of the natural gas trading and storage business as well as a share of Wintershall Noordzee B.V. In return, Wintershall was to receive shares in two additional blocks of the Urengoy field in western Siberia. Together with Gazprom, we still intend to continue the close partnership we have established over many years of dependable cooperation.
The long-term increase in demand for natural gas in western Europe, coupled with the decline in regional production, means that ever-increasing volumes of natural gas will have to be imported. Aside from the production of natural gas and development of gas fields, our pipeline network, natural gas storage facilities and trading activities all make an important contribution to supply security in western Europe.