German oil and gas company Wintershall Dea said Nov. 23 the low commodity prices caused by the coronavirus crisis had hit its third-quarter results, but that sustainably lower operating costs and higher output would help long-term.

Top managers told analysts the company was headed for positive cash flow at the end of the year and ready to reap benefits from the mostly completed merger between BASF’s Wintershall and LetterOne’s Dea.

“We are well positioned to weather whatever our industry will have to face,” said CEO Mario Mehren.

The company’s net result over the quarter was 43% up year-on-year at 70 million euros (US$83.13 million).

Production volumes, at 606,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), were up 3% and seen remaining in a range of 610,000 to 615,000 boe/d for 2020, increasing further still over the next two years.

Wintershall has cut production costs, already competitive versus industry averages, further this year, producing at $3.8 per boe in the year to date, a 14% cut over 2019.

Economics will improve more once new fields open in countries including Egypt, Norway and Russia, Mehren said.

EBITDA and exploration expenses, a standard oil industry measure, in July through September were down 44% on the year at 397 million euros as oil prices declined by 30% and gas by 40%.

Production and development spending fell 33.5% from a year earlier to 252 million euros, meaning it was on course to reach full-year guidance for 1.2 billion, which would be 30% lower than in 2019.

The company aims to have net zero upstream activities by 2030, investing around 400 million euros over the next 10 years.

The spending will go into energy efficiency, emissions management, new technology such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, and nature-based mitigation such as reforestation.

($1 = 0.8421 euros)