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BP 2Q 2017 exploration highlights

Release date:
29 June 2017
  • Discoveries in Egypt and Trinidad underpin major existing businesses
  • Actively managing exploration portfolio and exiting non-competitive assets, expects around $750 million non-cash exploration write-off in Angola
  • Exploration success in Senegal confirms new world-class basin
  • 2017 access in Senegal, UK, US, Canada and Mexico

BP said today that it continues to make progress in shifting its exploration portfolio toward natural gas and advantaged oil.


As first described to the financial community in 2016, BP is actively reviewing its exploration activities and refocusing them on growth in natural gas and advantaged oil in regions where BP currently operates. It is also selectively looking for opportunities to grow new material production regions while exiting less competitive exploration prospects.


Bernard Looney, BP’s Upstream chief executive commented: “We are making disciplined choices throughout our business, including in exploration, and pursuing only opportunities that will deliver clear value for our shareholders. Equally important to this disciplined, value-over-volume strategy, we are choosing not to pursue activities that we don’t think will deliver maximum value for our shareholders.”

Portfolio review

As part of the ongoing portfolio evaluation, BP has decided to relinquish its 50% interest in Block 24/11 offshore southern Angola. Katambi, a gas discovery made in the block in 2014, has not been determined to be commercial. As a result of this and other exploration write-offs in Angola, BP expects to include in its second quarter 2017 results a non-cash exploration write-off in Angola of around $750 million, which will not attract tax relief. This will not impact cash flow as part of re-balancing BP.


In October 2016 BP announced that it would not continue frontier exploration in the four blocks it operated in the Great Australian Bight, offshore southern Australia. BP and partner Statoil have now signed a swap agreement where Statoil has taken full ownership and operatorship of two of the blocks. BP is proceeding to discuss with the Australian government exiting its blocks.  This is not anticipated to impact second quarter 2017 results.


BP continues to thoroughly review its existing portfolio of exploration assets, moving forward with the most attractive and exiting those that do not compete.


BP has announced four gas discoveries so far in 2017.


The Savannah and Macadamia gas discoveries in Trinidad, announced earlier in June, together are expected to unlock around 2 trillion cubic feet of gas in place and to support further development in BP’s long-standing business in Trinidad. The Qattameya discovery in Egypt, announced in March, was the third gas discovery on the North Damietta Offshore concession, where BP is already developing the Atoll field.


Following the completion of its entry into Senegal, in May BP and partner Kosmos Energy announced a major gas discovery with the Yakaar-1 exploration well, which further confirms offshore Mauritania and Senegal as a world class hydrocarbon basin.  The partners plan a drill stem test at the Tortue Field and a further three exploration wells over the next 12 months.


BP has also continued to seek and access attractive new exploration acreage and opportunities globally. Building on incumbent positions, BP has been awarded new licences in the US Gulf of Mexico and in the UK North Sea. The 25 blocks awarded as a result of the UK’s 29th Offshore Licensing Round represent the largest acreage award for BP in the North Sea since the late 1990s.


In support of selectively looking for new material production regions, earlier in 2017 BP was awarded exploration licences in Newfoundland, off the east coast of Canada, and in Mexico. Further to the deal announced between BP and Kosmos Energy in December 2016, BP deepened its position in Senegal agreeing to purchase a further 30% interest in two offshore blocks.


Howard Leach, BP’s head of exploration commented: “This combination of new discoveries and new access has given BP a strong, resilient and more diversified exploration portfolio that lays the foundation for future growth in some of the world’s most exciting hydrocarbon basins.”

Further information





Notes to editors


  • BP press release: “BP strategy update: getting back to growth”, 28 February 2017, at www.bp.com/press 
  • BP press release: “BP makes third gas discovery in North Damietta Concession, East Nile Delta”, 27 March 2017, at www.bp.com/press
  • BP press release: “BP announces major gas find offshore Senegal”, 8 May 2017, at www.bp.com/press
  • BP press release: “BP makes Trinidad gas discoveries”, 2 June 2017, at www.bp.com/press

Cautionary statement


In order to utilize the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the ‘PSLRA’), BP is providing the following cautionary statement. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning BP’s expectations regarding an exploration write-off in Angola; expectations with respect to the discontinuation of exploration in four blocks in the Great Australian Bight; expectations that the Savannah and Macadamia gas discoveries in Trinidad will unlock around 2 trillion cubic feet of gas; and plans and expectations with respect to a drill stem test at the Tortue Field and three further exploration wells over the next twelve months. Actual results may differ from those expressed in such statements, depending on a variety of factors including changes in public expectations and other changes to business conditions; the timing, quantum and nature of divestments; the receipt of relevant third-party and/or regulatory approvals; future levels of industry product supply; demand and pricing; OPEC quota restrictions; PSA effects; operational problems; regulatory or legal actions; economic and financial conditions generally or in various countries and regions; political stability and economic growth in relevant areas of the world; changes in laws and governmental regulations; exchange rate fluctuations; development and use of new technology; the success or otherwise of partnering; the actions of competitors, trading partners and others; natural disasters and adverse weather conditions; wars and acts of terrorism, cyber-attacks or sabotage; and other factors discussed under “Risk factors” in our Annual Report and Form 20-F 2016.


This document contains references to non-proved resources and production outlooks based on non-proved resources that the SEC's rules prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosures in our Form 20-F, SEC File No. 1-06262. This form is available on our website at www.bp.com. You can also obtain this form from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330 or by logging on to their website at www.sec.gov.