History of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG 120 years of excellence


January 10th 1899

Foundation of Deutsche Tiefbohr-Actiengesellschaft (DTA) in Berlin. Application for the establishment of an engineering works at Nordhausen, Rothenburgstraße. Rudolf Nöllenburg becomes sole member of the management board. DTA operates as a drilling contractor.


DTA drills first wells for its own account and acquires a stake in the potash industry.

Takeover of the company “Hansa” in the Hanover region.

Acquisition of petroleum company Erdölwerk Handorf near Steinförde. Foundation of Vereinigte Nord-deutsche Mineralölwerke – Acquisition of Elsässische Petroleumgesellschaft, in Amsterdam and Walburg, and of Pechelbronner Oelwerke, Schiltigheim, with subsequent merger to create Vereinigte Pechelbronner Oelwerke GmbH. Commencement and further development of petroleum mining. Establishment of an underground construction department headed by Ernst Middendorf, which in 1906 becomes Deutsche Schachtbau GmbH.

Construction of an administration building in Nordhausen, temporary headquarters of DTA.

Foundation of Mineralöl-Verkaufsverein GmbH, a joint venture with wholesalers. Acquisition of an 80%-stake in Olex, a company selling directly to retail end consumers.

DTA acquires oil fields in Galicia and moves into Romania.


DTA has already sunk 900 wells in Wietze.

Name change from DTA to Deutsche Erdöl-Aktiengesellschaft (DEA). Inclusion of petroleum in the objects of the enterprise.

Through the acquisition of holdings in Concordia Rumänische Petroleum-Industrie-Aktien- Gesellschaft (74%), Vega Rumänische Petroleum Raffinerie AG (60%) and Credit Petrolifer (50%), DEA opts for Disconto-Gesellschaft as its principal banker. – With five smaller proces- sing plants in the Alsace region, four major refineries in Grabow, Hanover-Linden, Wietze and Wilhelmsburg and six gasoline plants throughout the entire German territory at the time, DEA has become an integrated mineral oil enterprise. Additional holdings are located in Mähren, Galicia and Romania.

Despite losing access to its oil wells in Galicia and Romania temporarily, DEA still makes a sustained contribution to the German war effort, including the provision of lubricants.

Acquisition of Rositzer Braunkohlenwerke, Regiser Kohlenwerke and Ramsdorfer Braunkohlenwerke, among others – Establishment, with the support of the German Admiralty (Reichsmarineamt), of Mineralölwerke Rositz for the purpose of producing oil through the carbonisation of brown coal for use in the war effort.

At Pechelbronn, the “Schacht Nöllenburg” becomes the world’s first successful sinking of an oil shaft.

Start of the construction of shafts at Wietze for the purpose of mining the oil sands.

Holsteinische Erdölwerke GmbH, under the control of DEA since 1925, com- mences a shaft operation in Hölle near Heide.

As a result of the Treaty of Versailles, DEA loses almost its entire inventory of crude oil, with the exception of the Wietze deposit, the company gears its operations to coal instead.


Foundation of the International Petroleum-Union (IPU) as a holding company, a joint venture with the French Dabrova group. With the participation of DEA, the IPU explores for oil in Argentina and Mexico. Acquisition of Vereinigte Kohlenwerke, Dresden/Borna.

Nöllenburg commits suicide near Berlin, Dr. Ernst Middendorf succeeds him as the new Chairman of the Management Board.

DEA leaves the IPU and is temporarily controlled by Baron von Liebig.

DEA acquires the Graf Bismarck colliery in Gelsenkirchen and the neighbouring Königsgrube colliery in Wanne-Eickel.

DEA and Rütgerswerke AG merge their oil operations to establish Deutsche Petroleum-Aktien-Gesellschaft (DPAG), with the participation of Deutsche Bank. DEA initially holds 54% of the share capital, and later also acquires the stake of Rütgers.

Agreement between DPAG and Anglo-Persian Oil Co. Ltd. (APO) for the supply of gasoline and kerosene in return for a 40-per cent share in Olex for APO.

Merger of Disconto-Gesellschaft and Deutsche Bank, which becomes DEA‘s new principal banker.


Anglo-Persian Oil acquires 100% of the shares in Olex, having gradually increased its holdings in previous years. DEA moves to acquire 96% of DPAG, and Rütgers withdraws from DPAG.

Dr. Ernst Middendorf passes away. DEA without a Chairman of the Management Board for three years. DPAG acquires Mineralölwerke Rositz from DEA. At the beginning of the NS regime, Dr. Ernst Lehner and Béla Szilasi resign their positions as members of the Management Board of DEA.

DEA acquires shares in Braunkohle-Benzin-Aktiengesellschaft (Brabag). Starting in 1934, DEA utilises the subsidies available under the imperial government’s drilling programme, totalling 6.58 million reichsmark by 1944. The company’s own oil production increases from 53,000 (1932) to 900,000 (1943) tpa.

First supply contract for marine heating fuel with the Imperial German Navy. The mining operation at Heide, inactive since 1926, resumes as part of the imperial government‘s drilling programme.

DEA assumes sole ownership of Edeleanu GmbH. DEA drills Europe‘s deepest well at Heide with a depth of 3817 m.

The so-called “Arianisation” leads to the forced resignation of Dr. Georg Solmssen, Paul von Schwabach and Dr. Ernst Springer from the Supervisory Board of DEA. The consultancy agreement with member of the Management Board Dr. Fritz Haußmann is terminated.

Following the annexation of Austria, DEA acquires the Neusiedl-St. Ulrich concession and makes a highly successful discovery.

DEA and DPAG merge as a result of the company‘s anticipation of the positive trend for crude oil production and processing.

After the Poland campaign, DEA receives a 20% stake in Beskiden-Gesellschaft, which operates in the occupied territory of Galicia.


After the start of the western campaign, DEA assumes the trusteeship of the petroleum company Erdölbetriebe Pechelbronn.

Foundation of Kontinentale Oel AG with Karl Schirner on the Supervisory Board. DEA acquires 10% of Karpathen Öl AG; Karl Große, who previously resigned from the company, is appointed Director-General.

Karl Schirner takes over the management of Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schmierstoffverteilung (ASV).

Günther Schlicht shareholder and technical manager of the Kaukasus company, and subsequently technical manager of all DEA oil companies.

Destruction of the refineries in Heide, Schwechat near Vienna and Wilhelmsburg, of Mineralölwerke Rositz and the Head Office in Berlin as a result of air strikes. Mining assets in central Germany are lost as a result of the Soviet occupation and the subsequent dispossession, as is the Neusiedl-St. Ulrich oil field near Vienna, as a result of the foundation of the Federal Republic of Austria.

The facilities in West Germany resume operations. The sale of mineral oil products, to the extent available, is handled by Deutsche Mineralöl-Verkaufsverein GmbH and Deutsche Viscobil Öl GmbH.

The British occupation forces remove the top management of DEA by forcing Karl Schirner, Günther Schlicht and Max Grotowsky to resign.

DEA moves its registered office from Wietze to Hamburg; the corporate headquarters follow in 1949.


DEA and Ernst Schliemann’s Ölwerke jointly establish a refinery for lubricants in the Grasbrook district in Hamburg, which in 1951 becomes wholly owned by DEA – Construction of oil harbour and tank facility in Brunsbüttelkoog.

The Graf Bismarck colliery manages to increase production in spite of major obstacles. Extensive company housing projects launched in Gelsen-kirchen, Heide and Wietze to alleviate housing shortage.

DEA encounters an oil prospect in a Dogger formation near Heide and discovers the Hohne oil field, leading to the resumption of large-scale domestic oil production.

In Heide, Germany‘s first catalytic cracker plant commences operation. First natural gas find near Pfungstadt. New oil discoveries in Schleswig-Holstein.

DEA discovers the large Hankensbüttel-Süd oil field. Foundation of Kohle-Öl-Chemie GmbH in Gelsenkirchen (a joint venture with Hoechst and Mannesmann).

DEA and partners acquire exploration rights in eastern Peru and develop a crude oil production operation.

DEA commences exploration activities in Syria.

DEA acquires equity in Aral AG.

The exploration and production divisi- on’s existing laboratories are combined in a new main laboratory for crude oil production in Wietze. DEA discovers the Wolfersberg natural gas deposit, which yields almost half a billion m3 in the period between 1960 and 1968.

DEA Brennstoffhandel GmbH commences operations.

Supply contract for crude oil with Continental Oil Company (Conoco). Takeover of Rheinpreussen AG für Bergbau und Chemie and acquisition of 50% of Rheinpreussen GmbH.

Foundation of the shared refinery Gemeinschaftsraffinerie DEA-Scholven GmbH, Karlsruhe, which in 1969 became Oberrheinische Mineralölwerke GmbH (OMW), and in 1996 Mineralölraffinerie Oberrhein GmbH & Co. KG (MiRO).


Foundation of CONDEA Petrochemie- Gesellschaft mbH by DEA and Conoco, with head office in Brunsbüttelkoog. DEA expands lubricant production at the Grasbrook mineral oil plant.

DEA participates in North Sea Consortium.

DEA participates in Dubai Consortium in the Persian Gulf.

DEA forced to cease exploration activities in Syria.

Takeover of the second half-share of Rheinpreussen GmbH.

In March: decision to close down the Graf Bismarck colliery; operation ceases in September 1966 – DEA continues to operate the Bismarck power station.

Oleonaphta is liquidated.

From 1966: Development of natural gas discoveries in Upper Bavaria and Lower Saxony.

In May: Texaco Inc. launches public takeover bid for DEA.

Sale of the Wietze drilling operation.

Divestment of the Rheinpreussen mining assets to Ruhrkohle AG.


The company changes its name to Deutsche Texaco AG (DTA). Reduction in total staff numbers to 6,700 initially, and then to 4,000. Restructuring of the service station network under the “Texaco” brand.

Start of construction of caverns near the Heide refinery for the purpose of mandatory mineral oil stockpiles.

Deutsche Texaco carries out a further expansion of the Heide refinery and commences the operation of a storage facility in Wolfersberg for the public gas supply. Deminex starts upstream activities in Norway.

Initial successes in tertiary oil production.

Marked decrease in crude oil processing in the DTA refineries as a consequence of the first oil crisis.

CONDEA changes its name to CONDEA Chemie GmbH.

Move to a new office building in Hamburg‘s „City Nord“, offices of the company headquarters.

Start of exploration drilling – together with Wintershall AG – in the concession area “Schwedeneck-See”.

Graf Bismarck power station is shut down following the expiry of the electricity supply contracts.

Second oil price crisis has long-term conse- quences for the mineral oil sector, halving the refinery capacity in West Germany.


Start of exploration well “Mittelplate 1” in the Wattenmeer tidelands of the coast of Dithmarschen.

Construction of the Inzenham-West natural gas storage facility. First finding in Vesslefrikk oilfield in Norway.

Crude oil processing at the Raunheim refinery ceases.

The cavern facility at Heide is sold to the Erdölbevorratungsverband (German Oil Storage Association).

The new catalytic reformer is commissioned at the Heide refiner.

Production from the oil fields Ras Budran, Zeit Bay and Ras Fanar in the Gulf of Suez commence with Suez Oil Company (SUCO) acting as operator.

Start of production at Schwedenecksee. Construction of one of the largest cracker plants in Europe for OMW. With the natural gas discovery at Wietzendorf and the subsequent discovery at Söhlingen (1980), DTA becomes a natural gas production company.

DTA introduces unleaded petrol.

DTA takes over Chevron Erdoel Deutschland GmbH.

Start of production of Mittelplate oilfield.

Takeover of Deutsche Texaco by RWE AG, Essen; name change to RWE- DEA AG für Mineraloel und Chemie, and establishment of the subsidiary DEA Mineraloel AG – The 18.5%-stake in Deminex held by RWE AG, and Union Rheinische Braunkohlen Kraftstoff AG, Wesseling, Rhein-Oel GmbH and parts of Rheinbraun-Mineralölvertrieb GmbH are transferred to RWE-DEA, or DEA.

Introduction of the “DEA” brand. Continuation of modernisation measures at the Wesseling refinery (until 1995).

RWE-DEA and DEA start developing the markets in the new federal states as well as in Poland and the Czech Republic


RWE-DEA acquires Vista Chemical Company in Houston/Texas, whose product range complements that of CONDEA. The company has 1850 employees and nine pro- duction plants in seven different locations in the United States.

DEA acquires a 37.5% stake in PCK Schwedt refinery. By 1998, DM 2.6 billion had been invested in modernising the plant, in environmental protection measures and in the construction of a power station.

The Völkersen Z-1 exploration well makes a significant natural gas discovery in the Rothenburg region/ Lower Saxony – Takeover of Domenico Altieri Chimiche (D.A.C.) in Milan and, next, of Terranova dei Passerini.

RWE-DEA acquires 85.7% of EniChem Augusta S.p.A. in Milan, with an option to buy the remaining EniChem shares.

OMW (DEA, Ruhr Oel and Conoco) and Esso merge their two refineries in Karlsruhe to form Mineralölraffinerie Oberrhein GmbH und Co. KG (MiRO).

Start of extensive construction measures at the DEA refinery Heide. Sales and distribution company Fuchs DEA Schmierstoffe GmbH & Co. KG commences operations.

The Deminex asset split results in RWE-DEA becoming responsible for exploration and pro- duction of crude oil in Egypt and Norway.

CONDEA acquires the tensides, solvents and fats business of Hüls AG, with production plants in Marl, Witten, Herne and in Delden in the Netherlands.


Sale of the chemicals division to the South African company Sasol.

Sale of DEA downstream operations to Shell.

Debut event of the new RWE Dea as a purely upstream enterprise at the Hamburg Stock Exchange.

Acquisition of the British upstream enterprise Highland Energy, with significant natural gas reserves in the southern British North Sea. Company renamed to trade as RWE Dea UK.

Following an award of 6 concessions in Libya, RWE Dea Libya Branch takes up its activities in Tripoli.

Completion of the pipeline link of Mittelplate Drilling and Production Island to the processing and refining facilities at the Dieksand Land Station and the new Mittelplate T 150 drilling rig.

Construction and installation of the Cavendish platform for development of the Cavendish natural gas field in the southern British North Sea.

First tanker of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Norwegian Snøhvit field leaves the facilities of Melkøya Island.

Significant natural gas strikes in Egypt and Algeria as well as oil discoveries in Libya.

RWE Dea launches activities in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.


Market entry in Trinidad and Tobago.

RWE Dea commences production from the British fields Clipper South, Devenick and Breagh, as well as from the Disouq field in Egypt.

Extension of production activities in the United Kingdom following a production launch from the Devenick and Clipper South fields.

Start of production from the Disouq field in Egypt and Breagh in the United Kingdom as well as exploration launch in Suriname.

DEA commences production from Norwegian oil & gas field Knarr. Completion of sale from RWE to LetterOne. DEA reestablished and positioned as DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG.

First major acquisition of new DEA: the Norwegian E&P business of E.ON. Integration process and completion of legal merger.

Country entry Mexico: Acquisition of 50% licence share and operatorship of the onshore oil field Ogarrio as well as award of offshore block 2.