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BP's head of exploration Richard Herbert departs

May 19, 2016

BP PLC’s head of exploration, Richard Herbert, is leaving the U.K. oil giant.

Mr. Herbert took on the role in 2013, when BP was working to recover from its 2010 Gulf of Mexico explosion and oil spill by cutting costs and finding new, cost-effective areas to produce oil and gas.

But since 2014, a prolonged slump in oil prices has forced the company and its peers to cut spending on finding new resources. BP expects to spend about $17 billion on finding and producing oil this year, down from nearly $23 billion in 2014.

BP said Mr. Herbert’s departure follows a decision to streamline the executive team managing exploration and production, known as “upstream” in industry parlance. Howard Leach, who is currently head of technical functions in exploration, will take over from Mr. Herbert on an interim basis.

“This simplifies and streamlines BP’s upstream executive team, but the change in reporting does not reflect any reduction in commitment” to exploring for new resources, the company said in an email.

The move is the latest shake-up in the company’s upstream division. Earlier this year, BP promoted its exploration-and-production chief, Lamar McKay, to the role of deputy chief executive. Mr. McKay was replaced with the company’s head of production, Bernard Looney.

Mr. Herbert worked with BP for a total of 26 years. He took on the role of head of exploration in 2013 after leaving BP to work for several years at Canadian oil company Talisman Energy.

By Sarah Kent

Source: MarketWatch

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