Wintershall is not a new kid on the block. Founded in 1894, it originally focused on potash mining before oil leaks into its mines led the company to first dabble in, then focus on, crude production. An oil producer since 1930, Wintershall’s path nevertheless diverges sharply from the national champions that emerged in other European countries – BP in the UK, or Total in France – during the same period.

The First World War put paid to Germany’s imperial ambitions, and stripped its nascent oil industry of captive overseas markets. While its European counterparts metamorphosed into international majors, Wintershall’s footprint is more modest, and its scope traditionally more limited. Much production has historically been at home, where its engineers drilled oil wells amidst wheat fields or vineyards, while its competitors began tapping the giant reserves under the sandy dunes of the Middle East. (CONTINUED - 1132 WORDS)