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Technology and performance are the E&P growth drivers
Wintershall appearing at the 21st World Petroleum Conference with Enhanced Oil Recovery growth area / Arab region continues to provide greatest potential for oil production
"Europe will be even more dependent on oil imports in future. We Europeans must learn to position ourselves better in the producing regions of the world," said Seele at the Congress: "For us Europeans, long-term raw material security and, above all, future growth requires that we nurture our partnerships with Russia and Norway while demonstrating a clear commitment to the Arab Region." According to Seele, this is because Europe's oil future lies in the Arab world. 70 percent of the world's oil reserves are situated in the MENA region between Morocco in the west and Iran in the east. But Europe currently obtains just 14 percent of its imports from the region.
"Even if the situation in some countries is more instable, Europe must permanently and perceptibly engage in the Arab region in a partnership-like manner," demanded Seele. "Those looking for future oil potential will ultimately find it in the Arab region."
However, the chairman of Germany's largest international oil and gas company also emphasised in Moscow the challenges facing the industry: "It's becoming tighter and technically more complicated at the source. This has doubled the development and production costs since 2005. The developments in shale gas and oil are also contributing to a general paradigm shift in the industry.
Wintershall presenting important EOR research project
Wintershall is particularly relying on the use of sophisticated and new technologies to increase the yield from oil deposits. Some of them are being developed together with the world's largest chemical company, BASF. "In a new pilot project, we're using a fungus to produce more crude oil from an older oil field in Germany. Such innovations can be catalysts for the industry," said Seele.
Wintershall is also presenting its currently most important research project at the 21st World Oil Congress (Pavilion 3, Hall 13): the Schizophyllan biopolymer is designed to increase the oil extraction rates from reservoirs. The biopolymer produced by the fungus thickens water, which is fed off to improve the oil production in the reservoir. This promises an effective and environmentally friendly use of more mature oil fields. It is currently being tested in an oil field in northern Germany.
The Wintershall technology has considerable potential: until now only one third of the available oil is extracted from the worldwide reservoirs. However, if enhanced oil recovery (EOR) were to be used to increase the global production rate by just 10 percent, this would create a potential corresponding to four times the reserves in Saudi Arabia. At the moment, EOR technologies only contribute to about 1.5 percent of the global oil production. The world's largest output is currently provided by steam flooding, in which oil is heated by hot steam. Wintershall has also been successfully applying this process for more than 30 years in northern Germany.
Crude oil: A natural resource for the future
Crude oil is still the most important resource of the industrial nations. Almost 14 billion litres of oil are used by the world every day. Oil can generate heat and get machines running, and provides fuel for vehicles and aircraft. Crude oil is also used, however, as the source material for most chemical products, such as plastics, detergents, paints and also medicine. 18 million tonnes of crude oil are processed in Germany for this purpose. 40 percent of all textiles contain oil and functional clothing even contains up to 100 percent oil. About 40 billion litres of oil are used each year in CDs and DVDs, and 60 litres are utilised in every couch. Without oil our modern life would not be conceivable. Therefore it is essential to develop the technologies for producing this valuable resource, to discover new sources and to be able to produce from existing fields for longer.
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