By Ahmed Elumami.
Kassel, 14 March 2014:
Germany’s oil and gas producer Wintershall has said that despite the difficulties it is . . .[restrict]experiencing in Libya, it wants to stay in the country.
At it annual press conference on Thursday, Wintershall Chairman Rainer Seele said that the company had been affected by the blockade of the eastern oil export fields by Ibrahim Jedhran’s forces and as a result production had totally ceased at its onshore fields.
Libya had for decades been a “central pillar” of Wintershall operations and he was optimistic for the future, he declared.
The difficulties in Libya notwithstanding, the company, a subsidiary of the German chemical giant BASF, said that its 2013 net income rose 48 percent to a record €1.8bn (LD 3.1 bn) in 2013, its biggest ever.
Wintershall suspended its onshore operations and removed its staff last autumn at the NOC’s request, for security reasons with the control of the coastal export terminals had been taken over.
Production at the offshore Al-Jurf field in which it holds a 6.7 percent stake is, however, continuing.
“We are very close to Libya especially given we have a fruitful relationship with our partner the National Oil Corporation,”Seele said. “Wintershall is waiting to return,”
However, it was not clear when the blockade of the terminals would be lifted nor where there any signs as to how quickly production in oilfields could be resumed.
“The process of the production in Libya now relies on the Libyan authorities providing stability so Wintershall can resume operations,” Wintershall director in charge of exploration and production Martin Bachmann told the Libya Herald.
Libya needs stability, Bachmann said. When that happened, the country’s foreign partners would return and resume work.
So far, Seele told this paper, no undertakings had been given by the Libyan authorities, but there were regular discussions with the NOC to assess the situation.
He had told NOC that Wintershall would be ready to restart production “but I do not want them to ask me to stop work again”.
Seele also said that Wintershall had signed an deal to co-operate with BP in North Africa on new and existing projects. He did not elucidate. Details would be announced later. [/restrict]