The economically depressed former east German state could benefit by nearly €7 billion, according to Central European Petroleum (CEP), which intends to start drilling in the Lausitz area, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Thursday.
A German-Canadian consortium, CEP has found what it called deposits of "European significance" at two sites between Lübben and Lieberose in the Dahme-Spreewald region. It launched its plans to get the oil on Wednesday in Potsdam.
Thomas Schröter, CEO of the consortium said drilling could start in 2017, and could bring up at least 15 percent of what is there over the coming 30 to 50 years. This would be around 10 million tonnes of oil.
"It is of best quality, sweet and low in sulphur," he said of the oil. "It is no Persian Gulf, but despite that it is an absolute hit."
Currently around 2.5 million tonnes of oil are drilled in Germany each year, largely in Lower Saxony and off the Schleswig-Holstein coast, the paper said. And before reunification, drilling for oil was being carried out in Brandenburg. But this was dropped when East Germany ceased to exist.
CEP said the local authorities and the state would profit by around €6.75 billion over the whole period of the project - not only from taxes but also spending on things like road building and hotel stays for workers.