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Oil Can Do More

Apr 14th 2015 at 1:26 AM

Its components are used to manufacture almost all chemical products, such as plastics, detergents, paints, and even medicines. As it is such an important resource it is very important to expand our technical ability to discover new sources and extend the production lives of existing oil fields.

Life without oil? Impossible! Within our daily lives oil is used almost everywhere: Every year, 18 million tonnes ofcrude oil are processed into synthetic materials in Germany. Oil within our materials: 40 percent of all textiles contain oil; for functional clothing this may be as much as 100 percent. Oil within our leisure activities: 40 billion liters of oil a year are used to make CDs and DVDs.

Oil helps us relax: A single sofa contains 60 liters of oil. Modern life is inconceivable without crude oil. The world consumes almost 14 billion liters of oil each day. This affects us all.

Compared to processes within other countries, oil and gas production in Germany requires the use of additional, and more technologically demanding techniques. This has made our company build upon our competitive expertise and our innovative technologies. Wintershall, uses this know-how obtained during exploration and production in Germany is incorporates itinto international projects. Our solid expertise  makes us an extremely sought-after partner for other companies in the E&P sector, because at a time when "easy oil" is a thing of the past, even from an international standpoint, our expertise in invaluable.

Short films to explain the world of oil and gas

How are oil and gas formed? What tools do geologists use when searching for these valuable resources? And which techniques exist for extracting oil and gas from the earth where it has been lying for thousands of years?

Our series on crude oil and natural gas, which was made in cooperation with the production company Real & Fiction, vividly describes where we find crude oil and natural gas and where these resources actually originate.

Part 1: The beginning of crude oil and natural gas

Part 2: Seismic

Part 3: Innovative extraction technologies - Using steam to extract more oil

Technology and innovation produce best results

A good example of where our technical expertise is being showcased is at Emlichheim on the German-Dutch border: Wintershall has used steam flood technology at this site since the start of the 1980s by which steam with a temperature of 300 degrees is forced into the deposit at a pressure of 100 bars. This production technology not only makes the oil less viscous and easier to produce, but also significantly extends the life of older oil fields.

This is important to note as on a global average only around a third of the oil is actually pumped out of the existing fields, the rest remains locked in the rock pores. However, with steam flooding, oil displacement efficiency for a deposit of highly viscous oils can be increased by up to 50 percent.

Another pioneering  project is the development of schizophyllan, a biopolymer derived from a fungus; the substance can be used to produce oil resources that are difficult to reach.

The development of this natural "production aid" together with our parent company BASF could help our company access additional volumes of natural resources. The use of these research and development innovations will help guarantee our supply security.

They turn us into attractive business partners and thus also open up access to other oil and gas sources around the world. Furthermore, if you consider that these technologies may also help extend the lives of larger international reservoirs, there is still a lot of potential to unlock: Just a global increase in oil displacement efficiency by a single percent would increase the life of the world's oil reserves by one year.

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