BP looks to North Sea, U.S. shale for near-term oil and gas boost

BP logo and stock graph are seen through magnifier displayed in this illustration taken, September 4 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - BP (BP.L) is targeting the North Sea and U.S. shale basins to boost oil and gas supplies in the short term in response to the global energy crisis, its head of oil and gas operations told Reuters.

BP aims to cut its oil and gas output by 40%, or 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), between 2019 and 2030 as part of its strategy to slash greenhouse gas emissions and build up a large renewables business.

But the company has boosted its spending on oil and gas in 2022 by $500 million in response to soaring energy prices and a supply crunch following years of under investment in the sector and in the wake of disruption to Russian supplies of gas to Europe.

BP is focusing its short-term output growth in the North Sea, where it produces around 130,000 boed, as well as shale fields in the United States, which produced 317,000 boed in the first half of the year, BP head of Production and Operations Gordon Birrell told Reuters.

"We're pulling forward some North Sea projects," Birrell said. One such project is the Murlach field, Birrell said.

Mulach, which is planned to start production in June 2025, will be connected to the existing Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) platform some 7 kilometres away, according to development plans BP submitted in April.

"Every one of our big fields has investment opportunities that we are doing as much as we can to move forward in time,"

BP became a major producer in the onshore U.S. shale basins following a $10.5 billion acquisition from BHP in 2018.

The company has invested heavily in technology to reduce the carbon emissions from its shale operations, known as BPX, including by electrifying drilling rigs in the oil-rich Permian basin, Birrell said.

"The development phase is ongoing and we are putting more capital into that in response to the energy crisis," he said. "Some of it is going straight into drilling and production, some of it going into reducing emissions of the facilities.”

"Production will keep growing in BPX, we want to keep growing that business," he said.

Reporting by Ron Bousso;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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