SYDNEY, Australia – BHP Billiton provided an update on its exploratory program, outlining what it calls its “value-focused approach.” The natural resources conglomerate said it will target opportunities within oil to enhance its long-term portfolio.
Speaking at Citigroup’s Mining Exploration Day in Sydney, BHP Billiton Head of Geoscience Laura Tyler said the company is focusing its exploration approach through targeted analysis and the establishment of a Geoscience Centre of Excellence.
She said the company sees exploration as “a key source of value creation,” and provided an update on its multi-million exploratory program.
“We are investing at a time when most in our sector continue to reduce discretionary spend,” she said. “Next financial year, we intend to invest approximately $900 million dollars in exploration, which represents 18% of our overall capital budget.
“We are also challenging existing paradigms with a scientific-based and disciplined approach to exploration. We have reduced exploration operating costs by 70% since 2013, and this year we have increased the targets tested by 44%.”
BHP Billiton’s petroleum exploration program is focused on three conventional deepwater basins in:
- The Gulf of Mexico
- The Caribbean (in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados)
- The Northern Beagle subbasin off the coast of Western Australia.
“Over the last four years, we have developed a new approach to petroleum exploration that is much more focused,” Tyler said. “We have commenced drilling in Trinidad and Tobago and have secured an additional rig which will soon commence drilling in a prospective block north of our Shenzi operations in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The company’s regionally based exploration teams are supported by a globally integrated geoscience team to facilitate a faster adoption of best practice and new technology.
“Internal collaboration is very important and we are leveraging our petroleum business geoscience to identify prospective sediment hosted copper deposit basins,” Tyler said. “Similarly, we are adopting technology from petroleum and applying directional drilling techniques to copper exploration.”
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