The future needs roots
Wintershall Dea’s history is full of exciting turning points. A journey from the end of the 19th century till today.
Wintershall Dea’s roots reach back more than 100 years: Its predecessor companies Wintershall and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG were among the pioneers of the German oil and gas industry. Both companies repeatedly made a mark with their technical know-how and skills and also enhanced their portfolio systematically. From the second half of the 20th century on, they increasingly became international players and secured challenging concessions worldwide. They have continued on that path together since the merger in 2019. The successful tradition of its forerunners is the foundation on which Wintershall Dea now operates stronger and more modern than ever before.
The mining entrepreneurs Carl Julius Winter and Heinrich Grimberg found the company Wintershall. Its business in the initial years focused on mining potash salt. That also explains the company’s name: The Germanic word “Hall”, meaning salt, was appended to the surname of the founder Winter.
The legal predecessor of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG is established as Deutsche Tiefbohr-Actiengesellschaft (DTA). The Managing Director is the 25-year-old merchant Rudolf Nöllenburg from Krefeld. The company initially operates as a drilling contractor. However, it would soon start drilling its own wells – including one that struck oil for the first time.
DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG drills the world’s first oil shaft, the Nöllenburg shaft, in Pechelbronn in Alsace. Up to then, oil was either extracted close to the surface or by means of wells. In the complex shaft construction method, however, oil is “mined” with the aid of an underground cavity.
Crude oil production gets reinforcement, and the still young Federal Republic of Germany develops a new and forward-looking branch of industry, when Wintershall finds gas for the first time in Bentheim County. The company is thus one of the pioneers in developing and producing natural gas in Germany.
DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG enters the Norwegian market. The target: the rich oil and gas reserves on the Norwegian continental shelf. They would later become one of Europe’s most important sources of energy.
Operations get underway in the Gulf of Suez: Oil production starts at the Ras Budran, Ras Fanar and Zeit Bay fields. That is the reward for ten years of work for DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG. Production off the Egyptian coast is one of the company’s earliest production projects outside Europe.
Wintershall concludes a long-term agreement for marketing Russian natural gas in Germany with the Russian company Gazprom. It marks the start of a successful partnership – comprising not only ambitious pipeline projects, but also continuing with joint ventures to produce oil and gas in Russia.
Wintershall becomes operator of the Brage oil field and the production platform of the same name. It significantly expands its business in Norway with its first self-operated project on the Norwegian continental shelf and stakes in the Gjøa and Vega fields: Output climbs from 3,000 to 40,000 barrels a day – and the company has 240 employees more.
Asset swap with the long-standing partner Gazprom: Wintershall takes a stake in developing two further natural gas and condensate blocks in western Siberia. In exchange, the company transfers its entire natural gas trading and storage business to Gazprom and so focuses on its upstream operations.
Entry into the Mexican market: DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG takes a 50 per cent stake in the producing onshore oil field Ogarrio and becomes its operator. The company also acquires shares in Block 2 in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to further stakes, it establishes a major position in the national upstream market within just one year.
Wintershall and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG become Wintershall Dea. The merger creates Europe’s leading independent oil and gas company. It holds concessions worldwide, has around 3,000 employees, and produces a combined 575,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day to begin with.