May 16 (UPI) -- Australian energy and mining giant BHP Billiton could see value increase by 50 percent under a variety of market scenarios, the company's CEO said Tuesday.
The company in April dismissed a push by managers at hedge fund Elliot Associates and Elliot International, which hold minor shares in BHP Billiton, to split off its U.S. oil division in order to unlock tens of billions of U.S. dollars in shareholder value.
"Our roadmap today contains an enhanced set of opportunities that will see us prosper and grow value per share throughout the cycle, and in multiple price scenarios," he said.
The company holds a 23.9 percent stake in the Mad Dog project in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a program controlled by British energy company BP. In a $2.2 billion investment decision this year, BHP said it would help advance production through a floating production facility and more than a dozen new wells.
Production by 2022 is expected to be around 140,000 gross barrels of crude oil per day, which the Australian company said defends a preferred deep-water investment of this size.
Mackenzie said offshore U.S. successes, as well as pioneering programs in South America, are driving growth for the company's petroleum portfolio.
"Our focused petroleum exploration program has an unrisked value of over $20 billion, close to a quarter of which sits in low- to medium-risk prospects to be tested in the next two years," he said.
Total oil production for the company in March, the last full month for which it published data, was 15 percent higher year-on-year. In onshore U.S. shale, the company last month said it was eager to unload what it considered non-core assets.
During his presentation, Mackenzie said "all options" are on the table to draw value from U.S. shale acreage, though lower drilling costs were supporting returns in key focus areas.
"We will be flexible with our plans and commercial in our approach," he said.