Exploration and Production

BP’s oil and gas exploration and production division is one of its core businesses, globally and in the United States. Teams in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and onshore areas of the lower 48 states are responsible for finding and safely extracting the energy resources America needs.

Gulf of Mexico

Nearly three decades after BP began exploring the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the company remains one of the region’s leading oil and gas producers, with lease blocks covering an area more than twice the size of Delaware. In fact, BP has been the largest energy investor in the deepwater Gulf over the past decade.

Between 2014 and 2017, its average daily production in the region increased from 252,000 barrels of oil equivalent to more than 300,000. This reflects BP’s continued investment at its four massive Gulf of Mexico production platforms: Atlantis, Na Kika, Thunder Horse and Mad Dog. Elsewhere in the gulf, the company holds interests in four hubs that other companies operate: Mars, Olympus, Ursa and Great White.


BP has spent more than half a century exploring and developing Alaska’s oil and gas resources, and its operations in and around the giant Prudhoe Bay field, located on the North Slope, account for around 55 percent of the state’s oil and gas production.

Since Prudhoe Bay began production in 1977, it has generated more than 12.5 billion barrels of oil — far exceeding initial projections — thanks in part to enhanced oil recovery technologies that BP pioneered. Four decades after starting up, Prudhoe Bay remains one of North America’s largest oil fields.

Lower 48

In the lower 48 states, BP’s onshore business now is independently operated but still wholly owned. BP chose to separate its lower 48 operations so they could be more flexible and agile, and thus more competitive, in a rapidly changing environment.

Headquartered in Houston, its operations span five states — Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming — and seven oil and gas basins, covering an area (5.7 million net acres) roughly the size of New Jersey. In 2016, BP’s average daily oil and gas production in the Lower 48 was about 302,000 barrels of oil equivalent.