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    Wintershall Dea output hits record in Q1


The German company gained from the start-up of a new deep gas project in west Siberia.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Wintershall Dea output hits record in Q1

Production at Germany's Wintershall Dea reached a new record level in the first quarter of 659,000 barrels of oil equivalent/day, marking the second consecutive three-month period it has surpassed 650,000 boe/d, the company reported on April 27.

Output was up 1% quarter on quarter and up 5% year on year. The biggest growth was seen at Wintershall Dea's operations in Russia, where it started flowing gas from the Achimov 4A block in January with partner Gazprom. The pair launched production at the Achimov 5A block last week.

Wintershall Dea's Russian output averaged 321,000 boe/d in Q1 2021, versus 300,000 boe/d a year earlier. Further gains in north Europe and Latin America offset decline in the Middle East and North Africa.

The firm's production costs also fell to a new low of €3.2 ($3.9)/b. "Wintershall Dea has never produced such large volumes at such low costs in its history as it did in the first three months of 2021," the company said, noting that it was confident of keeping full-year production costs below €4/b.

Production growth and low costs helped the company achieve strong financial numbers for the quarter, with Ebitda up 47% at €704mn ($849mn) and free cash flow up 376% at €400mn. Net debt also shrank 28% to €4.14bn.

"We entered 2021 with a great deal of operating momentum, allowing us to deliver production of 659,000 boe/d in the first quarter," CEO Mario Mehren said in a statement. "This strong operational performance combined with a more robust external environment has resulted in a step-change in our financial performance, allowing us to recommence our common dividend."

Wintershall Dea has resumed dividend payments, with €500mn distributed to shareholders in the first quarter and a further €100mn due to be paid in the second quarter.