BP Shifts into First Gear with Shale – Splits Offshore/Onshore

BP is one of the world’s largest integrated oil and gas companies, with operations that span from exploration and production in the upstream to midstream pipelines and even downstream (one of the world’s largest energy traders). A truly huge company. They also own 84,000 acres of leases in the Ohio Utica Shale–acreage they’ve done almost nothing with since leasing in early 2012. According to Volume 3 of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook (published in January), we count 5 drilling permits for BP in the OH Utica Shale for all of 2013. Barely a pulse.

Our course hindsight is 20/20, but one of the problems is BP leased all of that land in the northern part of the Utica play–in Trumbull County. As we’ve noted elsewhere today on MDN, Utica drilling has decidedly shifted southward (away from Trumbull and other northern counties). But perhaps geography hasn’t been the only thing holding BP back in their Utica drilling program. Could it be an inefficient management structure in the company? Perhaps! Two days ago BP announced they are splitting offshore and US onshore drilling into separate divisions within the company. Judging from the announcement, it appears the decision to split operations is an effort to take better advantage of shale drilling. While they don’t mention the Utica specifically, we believe part of the reason BP has not drilled in the Utica is due to their own internal structure, which they’re moving to remedy…

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