BP appoints new heads of production, drilling as output set to jump

LONDON (Reuters) - BP BP.L has reshuffled its exploration and production division as the oil company readies for the biggest jump in output in its history.

The logo of BP is on display at a petrol station in Moscow, Russia, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhi/File photo

The British firm is launching a record number of projects this year and plans steep growth in production through 2021.

The chief of the production, exploration and development unit or upstream division, Bernard Looney, has appointed several executives including a new head of production and a new head of drilling, BP told Reuters.

Gordon Birrell, who previously headed BP in Azerbaijan, will become chief operating officer for production, transformation and carbon in the BP upstream segment, reporting to Looney.

Based in London, he will be responsible for global operations, global wells, global procurement, supply chain management and upstream engineering.

He will also be accountable for upstream modernization and lead the development of the upstream approach to a low-carbon future, BP said.

Andy Krieger will become the new head of drilling. Krieger, previously vice-president for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, will report to Birrell.

The previous head of drilling, Gary Jones, will lead operations in Azerbaijan. The country is a key global growth area where the company wants to expand the giant ACG oilfields and the Shah Deniz gas development.

Jones will report to Andy Hopwood, chief operating officer for strategy and regions in BP’s upstream segment.

“Project execution followed by an underlying cashflow inflection will be the key steps (for BP) combined

arguably with oil above rather than below $50 per barrel,” analysts from JP Morgan wrote this week after meeting BP’s chief financial officer, Brian Gilvary.

They said BP’s production growth was due to accelerate through 2017/18, pause thereafter and then see another step-up in 2020/21.

The key start-ups this year are the Zohr gas field in Egypt, Juniper in Trinidad, Khazzan in Oman, Quad 204 in Britain and Persephone in Australia, JP Morgan said.

Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Dale Hudson