Germany's Wintershall Dea aims to produce a record 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) from Norwegian oil and gas fields in 2023 and will continue to expand its business there, the head of the company's Norwegian unit told Reuters.
Speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference, Michael Zechner said the geopolitical situation, that led Norway last year to replace Russia as Europe's largest gas supplier, made the Nordic country an even more attractive place to do business.
"Gas to Europe is clearly one of the topics our company is focusing very much on and Norway being the prime exporter of gas towards the European continent, makes it one of the countries to stay in both now and in future," Zechner said.
The Norwegian government on Tuesday awarded stakes in 47 new offshore oil and gas exploration permits to 25 firms. Wintershall Dea will own parts of 11 of the licenses and will be the operator of three.
The awards made Wintershall Dea, owned jointly by BASF and investor group LetterOne, the most successful international participant in the licensing round.
The new permits are located in mature areas of the Norwegian continental shelf where the German group has existing acreage, and the company now holds over 90 exploration and production licenses in Norway.
Norway's focus on electrification of offshore fields and exploring around existing fields, tying them back to previously built platforms and pipelines, is also helping to cut emissions, Zechner said. Wintershall Dea is aiming for net-zero direct and indirect emissions from its operations by 2030.
Production of 200,000 boed would account for just under a third of the company's expected global output, Zechner said. The company produced around 150,000 boed in Norway in 2021. Details of last year's output have not yet been released.
In 2022, the company started production at the re-developed Njord field and participated in eight plans for development and operation (PDO) and planned to participate in drilling five exploration and appraisal wells in 2023.
"Although I don't think we will hand in another large-scale PDO this year, we will certainly continue to work very hard to mature projects in our pipeline," Zechner added.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik and Mark Potter)