LONDON Aug 20 Oil major BP has appointed
a chief executive to look after its U.S. onshore oil and gas
assets, months ahead of its plan to spin off the business to
boost the profitability of its shale gas portfolio in the
SandRidge Energy Inc's former Chief Operating Officer
David Lawler will take on the Houston-based role on Sept. 15. He
will head the new business - called U.S. Lower 48 Onshore -
which includes unconventional resources of around 7.6 billion
barrels of oil equivalent across 20,000 wells.
Lawler has decades of experience in the U.S. energy market
after working at Shell, ConocoPhillips and
Burlington Resources in a variety of roles ranging from drilling
engineering to exploration and production business development.
The U.S. unconventional oil and gas market is highly
competitive and a number of other big oil companies, including
rival European producers Shell and BG, have struggled to
cope with depressed gas prices after making big investments.
BP announced in March it would create a separate U.S.
onshore oil and gas unit early next year to allow faster
decision-making and shorter cycle times to move from shale
drilling to production.
Lawler's unit will start publishing separate financial
information to the rest of BP from next year and operate under a
different governance management, but BP will continue to own it.
Separately, the oil major also announced on Wednesday it was
the highest bidder on 27 new leases in the deepwater Gulf of
Mexico, the basin where its Macondo well explosion killed 11
workers and caused a devastating oil spillage in 2010.
"We hope to continue building on ... the recent momentum
that has returned to BP's operations in the deepwater Gulf of
Mexico," the company said in a statement.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Additional reporting by Terry
Wade in Houston; Editing by Pravin Char)