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By Ron Bousso
LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - BP does not yet foresee a shortfall in oil supplies in the coming years due to a fall in investments across the sector, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said on Thursday.
Although investment in new oil and gas projects more than halved following the collapse of oil prices in 2014, U.S. shale oil production has surged in recent years as drillers adapted.
The U.S. output growth helped offset production cuts by OPEC and several major producing countries since 2017.
Gilvary said BP still hadn’t seen indications of declining production in U.S. shale as well as non-OECD countries such as the Middle East.
“We’re not seeing under-investment coming through yet,” Gilvary told the FT Energy Transition Strategies summit in London.
“If we see a drop-off in production in those areas that might be a cause for concern.”
BP sharply reduced its annual spending plans in the wake of the downturn to a range of $15-$17 billion from around $23 billion in 2014.
The London-based company will stick to that range even after a 70 percent recovery in oil prices over the past year, Gilvary said. The company expects oil prices to remain within $50 to $65 a barrel in the foreseeable future, Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley told Reuters last month.
BP has in recent months increased its investments in renewable energy and low-carbon technology, such as in solar company Lightsource, earmarking around $500 million of annual investments until 2021.
“The number of half a billion dollars may grow, it may grow significantly, but within the $15 to $17 billion frame. But it will really be opportunity driven,” Gilvary told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.
BP will remain a predominantly fossil fuel company, focusing increasingly on natural gas, the least polluting hydrocarbon, as well as oil that requires lower investment to produce, such as in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil, Gilvary said.
“We’re not trying to convert BP into a renewable business, what we are trying to do is supply energy with a much lower carbon footprint.” (Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and David Evans)