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Interview

with Juergen Rodefeld, General Manager, Wintershall Qatar

08.10.2012 / Energyboardroom

Can you give us a historical overview of Wintershall since its establishment in Qatar in 1973: what were the main milestones and achievements?

Originally in the early days, we started with exploration and following that, a few gas discoveries were made, but at that time, gas was not as attractive as nowadays. We have been here for a long time drilling several wells and investing significantly in Qatar. Currently we have two blocks here, which are being explored.

With more than 200$ million invested in exploration, how significant are Wintershall’s operations in Qatar among the overall group?

If you look at Wintershall globally, we have a lot of producing assets, mainly in Germany, the North Sea, Libya, Russia and Argentina, but here in Qatar it is more of an exploring asset, it certainly plays its role in global exploration, and I can say it has its place in the portfolio. It is a corner stone in the Middle East and a significant project that can serve as a flagship of our presence in the region.

What are the main projects and priorities on the current agenda for Wintershall Qatar?

We are currently busy with our two blocks here, Block 3 and Block 4N and we are actually drilling on Block 4N with an exploration well, which is the main focus of our activity. The well will be finished by the end of the year and if everything goes to plan we may go into development scheme once everything is achieved the way we expect it.

What were the main challenges for the exploration of block 4N and block 3 and how did you overcome them to make it successful and how are the operations going?

Yes, there certainly are some obstacles while drilling here, it is a very challenging environment, it can be difficult because of some over-pressured zones, so if I rate it in terms of technical challenge these wells are really technically demanding and they need to be engineered properly to make operations successful and safe.

Qatar is a highly competitive market with a number of international and local players: in such a demanding context, what would you say are your competitive advantages and how do you manage to be a partner of choice?

We have a track record of staying in the country even if we don’t have an initial success; we are operating in other countries as well as a partner, we have experience with offshore wells, with gas producing assets and all this experience truly gives us strengths and a competitive edge. With the right technology and logistics our dedicated employees will meet all the challenges we encounter, such as extreme heat in the desert, high waves in the North Sea, or permafrost in Siberia.

There is a current green trend going on in Qatar, with the rather recent creation of the ministry of energy, and COP 18 being hosted in 2 months, can you tell us more about Wintershall’s efforts to preserve the environment and elaborate on the recent award from Qatar’s Ministry of Energy that you received on that matter?

At Wintershall, we have always been very sensitive to the environment and we do everything required in that regard. We commit ourselves to do more than that, because we apply our own regulations for the environment, which are very strict in that regard. In Libya we are one of just a few companies that does not flare the associated gas produced during oil production in the desert, but collects it all via central processing plants and sends it on to power plants to be used for electricity generation.

How would you assess the future opportunities in Qatar and where would you like to take Wintershall’s operations in the next 5 years to come?

If the moratorium comes to an end, we would certainly be interested to be involved in new projects. Ideally in the future, we wish to be producing a lot of gas in Qatar and contribute to the growth of the industry.

Our operations are going well here in Qatar, we have managed to build very good relations with Qatar Petroleum; we are committed to the country. In Qatar, the investment climate is very reliable, this is really stable environment and we are happy to do business here and shape the future – for us and the country. Can you give us a historical overview of Wintershall since its establishment in Qatar in 1973: what were the main milestones and achievements?

Originally in the early days, we started with exploration and following that, a few gas discoveries were made, but at that time, gas was not as attractive as nowadays. We have been here for a long time drilling several wells and investing significantly in Qatar. Currently we have two blocks here, which are being explored.

With more than 200$ million invested in exploration, how significant are Wintershall’s operations in Qatar among the overall group?

If you look at Wintershall globally, we have a lot of producing assets, mainly in Germany, the North Sea, Libya, Russia and Argentina, but here in Qatar it is more of an exploring asset, it certainly plays its role in global exploration, and I can say it has its place in the portfolio. It is a corner stone in the Middle East and a significant project that can serve as a flagship of our presence in the region.

We are currently busy with our two blocks here, Block 3 and Block 4N and we are actually drilling on Block 4N with an exploration well, which is the main focus of our activity. The well will be finished by the end of the year and if everything goes to plan we may go into development scheme once everything is achieved the way we expect it.

What were the main challenges for the exploration of block 4N and block 3 and how did you overcome them to make it successful and how are the operations going?

Yes, there certainly are some obstacles while drilling here, it is a very challenging environment, it can be difficult because of some over-pressured zones, so if I rate it in terms of technical challenge these wells are really technically demanding and they need to be engineered properly to make operations successful and safe.

Qatar is a highly competitive market with a number of international and local players: in such a demanding context, what would you say are your competitive advantages and how do you manage to be a partner of choice?

We have a track record of staying in the country even if we don’t have an initial success; we are operating in other countries as well as a partner, we have experience with offshore wells, with gas producing assets and all this experience truly gives us strengths and a competitive edge. With the right technology and logistics our dedicated employees will meet all the challenges we encounter, such as extreme heat in the desert, high waves in the North Sea, or permafrost in Siberia.

There is a current green trend going on in Qatar, with the rather recent creation of the ministry of energy, and COP 18 being hosted in 2 months, can you tell us more about Wintershall’s efforts to preserve the environment and elaborate on the recent award from Qatar’s Ministry of Energy that you received on that matter?

At Wintershall, we have always been very sensitive to the environment and we do everything required in that regard. We commit ourselves to do more than that, because we apply our own regulations for the environment, which are very strict in that regard. In Libya we are one of just a few companies that does not flare the associated gas produced during oil production in the desert, but collects it all via central processing plants and sends it on to power plants to be used for electricity generation.

How would you assess the future opportunities in Qatar and where would you like to take Wintershall’s operations in the next 5 years to come?

If the moratorium comes to an end, we would certainly be interested to be involved in new projects. Ideally in the future, we wish to be producing a lot of gas in Qatar and contribute to the growth of the industry.

Our operations are going well here in Qatar, we have managed to build very good relations with Qatar Petroleum; we are committed to the country. In Qatar, the investment climate is very reliable, this is really stable environment and we are happy to do business here and shape the future – for us and the country.

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