Lower 48

With operations that span six states — Colorado, Louisiana,  New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming — BP’s Lower  48 onshore business is one of America’s largest natural gas  producers. 

In 2018, BP signed a $10.5 billion deal with BHP to  purchase world-class unconventional oil and gas assets  in the Permian-Delaware basin in Texas, along with two  premium positions in the Eagle Ford and Haynesville basins  in Texas and Louisiana. These assets currently produce  190,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, of which about 45  percent are liquid hydrocarbons. 

The deal represents BP’s largest purchase since buying  ARCO in 1999. BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley has  called it ”a transformational acquisition for our Lower 48  business,” and BP Upstream Chief Executive Bernard  Looney has said it will give the Lower 48 team “access to  some of the best acreage in some of the best basins in the  onshore U.S.” 

Even as it dramatically expands its operations, BP Lower  48 continues to be an industry leader in understanding and  addressing the challenge posed by methane emissions.  

Since 2000, the Lower 48 business has slashed its total  greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2 million metric  tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, with methane reductions  accounting for most of the decline. That’s comparable to  the annual electricity-related emissions of more than  300,000 typical homes. 

The business regularly analyzes and tests innovative  methane leak detection technologies that could help  operators identify leaks more quickly and more efficiently.  As part of those efforts, it is piloting the use of drone  technology (unmanned aerial vehicles), while also testing  other technologies that aim to quantify emissions. 

In addition, BP Lower 48 recently launched a separate pilot  project in which it teamed up with a Silicon Valley firm  and applied a mathematical model to optimize production  at 180 onshore wells in Wyoming. This led to a 75 percent  reduction in venting emissions events, a 20 percent increase  in production and a 20 percent reduction in costs. The  project will expand to more than 2,000 onshore wells by the  end of 2018.
As that example demonstrates, BP’s focus on reducing  methane emissions is closely tied to its larger strategy of  improving efficiency and productivity.  

“We recognize that, to maximize the climate advantage of  natural gas, we have to reduce methane leakage,” says  Lower 48 CEO Dave Lawler. “Our team has played a leading  role on methane, and we’re proud of our recent progress.  

We also understand that reducing methane emissions  with advanced technology can help make our operations  safer, stronger and more reliable. In that sense, tackling the  methane challenge is not only good for the environment,  but also good for business.” 

BP Lower 48 produces primarily natural gas, along with oil,  condensate and natural gas liquids. In 2017, the business  produced an average of 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent  each day, and its investment and operating expenditures  totaled more than $1.5 billion. 

In 2018, it brought online five Mancos Shale horizontal  wells in New Mexico. Horizontal wells allow companies  like BP to reduce both surface disturbance and the number  of production facilities needed to access a given reservoir,  while also reducing the associated emissions. Meanwhile, the Lower 48 team expanded its presence in  the east Texas portion of the Haynesville/Bossier shale gas  formation, which could have more gas in place than almost  any other shale formation in the United States.