BP chief executive Bob Dudley. Image courtesy of BP/Youtube.

BP CEO Bob Dudley said on Tuesday that his company is not likley to increase its capital expenditure budget over the next two years.

Dudley told Bloomberg that BP will keep its planned capital expenditures below the $17 billion mark for both 2017 and 2018.

According to BP’s 2015 annual report, the company’s 2015 organic capital expenditure was $18.7 billion, an 18 percent decline from the the 2011 to 2014 period average.

Dudley told Bloomberg that BP will be able to pay for its spending plan and dividends from its income at an average crude prices of $55 per barrel in 2017.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration currently expects Brent crude prices to average $53 per barrel in 2017, up from the agency’s previous forecast of $51 per barrel.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices are expected to average about $1 per barrel less than Brent prices for the same period.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect crude prices to average just under $56 per barrel this year.

Dudley told Bloomberg that BP has planned six major developments for this year but will remain “very selective on projects this year.”

BP ended 2016 with a several acquisitions and a major project sanction.

Last month, BP sanctioned the $9 billion Mad Dog Phase 2 project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The project will include a new floating production platform with the capacity to produce up to 140,000 gross barrels of crude oil per day from up to 14 production wells.

Oil production from Mad Dog Phase 2 is expected to begin in late 2021.

In late December, BP reached an agreement with Kosmos Energy to acquire stakes in two exploration blocks.

Under the deal, BP acquired a 62 percent working interest, including operatorship, of Kosmos’ exploration blocks in Mauritania and a 32.49 percent effective working interest in Kosmos’ Senegal exploration blocks.

Last month, BP acquired fuel and convenience store sites from Australian supermarket retailer Woolworths.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol told Reuters this week that he expects oil markets to experience “much more volatility” this year even if OPEC and non-OPEC members deliver on planned production cuts.

Rising U.S. production could further complicate the crude price outlook.

The EIA said earlier this month that it expects U.S. crude production to average 9 million bpd in 2017, up from its previous estimate of 8.7 million bpd.

The agency has forecast that U.S. crude production will then climb to 9.3 million bpd in 2018 thanks to production gains in the Gulf of Mexico.


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