Wintershall, a 100% BASF subsidiary, is optimizing its portfolio through divesting its share in selected assets on the UK Continental Shelf. Through the transaction, the Hungarian MOL Group will acquire 14 licenses in the North Sea, including nonoperated equity stakes in the Broom field (29%) as well as the Catcher (20%), Cladhan (33.5%) and Scolty/Crathes (50%) developments. In addition, Wintershall’s equity share in existing infrastructure on the Sullom Voe Terminal and the Brent Pipeline System are also part of the deal. The purchase price of US$375 million is subject to value adjustments at closing, which is expected in the first quarter of 2014. A respective agreement was signed by MOL Group and Wintershall in Budapest, Hungary. The transaction is subject to the approval by the relevant authorities and partners and will be financially retroactive to January 1, 2013.
“We are well on track in implementing our strategy of growth at the source,” said Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall. “With the divestment of non-operated assets, we can concentrate on strengthening our competencies in exploration, field development and production activities on ownoperated assets in the North Sea.”
In addition to the transaction, MOL and Wintershall also signed a cooperation agreement to develop their partnership and jointly pursue exploration and production opportunities in both the North Sea and the Middle East region.
Wintershall continues on growth path in the North Sea region
The North Sea region has been one of Wintershall’s traditional core regions since 1965. In recent years the company has significantly expanded its activities in the Northern North Sea and is already one of the largest license holders in Norway, investing about half of its global exploration budget in the Northern North Sea. At the same time Wintershall is progressing its successful exploration portfolio towards development and production.
One key element of this continued growth is the asset swap with the Norwegian company Statoil that was successfully closed at the end of July 2013. This transaction has established Wintershall as a production operator on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and allowed the company to expand its reserves and its daily production in Norway more than tenfold, from around 3,000 boe to almost 40,000 boe. In addition, with Brage, Wintershall took over the operatorship of a major production platform in Norway for the first time.
The operated exploration discovery Maria, with a planned production start in 2018, is considered one of the significant recent oil discoveries in Norway with an estimated 130 million barrels of oil and just over 2 billion standard cubic metres of gas. In addition, Wintershall also plans to develop its Skarfjell discovery in the North Sea. The expansion of Wintershall on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is also reflected in the rapidly growing number of employees: In 2014, the number of staff in Norway is set to rise to almost 500 including employees on the Brage Platform and the new office for offshore operations in Bergen.
Long-standing activities in the Southern North Sea
Wintershall is also one of the largest producers of natural gas in the Netherlands and operates at total of 23 offshore installations there. In December 2012, Wintershall made an oil discovery with significant potential off the Dutch coast about 120 kilometers north of Den Helder with the exploration well F17-10. In the southern UK North Sea Wintershall operates the Wingate platform. In Denmark the operated Hibonite exploration well (5504/1-3) proved crude oil. Synergy with the nearby Ravn discovery may lead to a cluster development approach. The Ravn-3 exploration well confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons in the structure in 2009.
In Germany the Mittelplate platform in the Wadden Sea, is the only drilling and oil production platform in German waters and the cornerstone of oil production in Germany. In addition, Wintershall operates the natural gas platform A6-A in the so-called “Entenschnabel” (Duck’s Bill) – in the far north-west of the German North Sea.