HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- Oil giant BP PLC (BP.LN, BP) continues to use an oil-price range between $60 and $90 a barrel in its long-term planning despite rising crude prices, its top executive said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters at the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference, Chief Executive Bob Dudley said oil’s current price of more than $100 a barrel reflects “times full of uncertainty” and that the company is “watching carefully.”
“We still continue to plan BP between $60 and $90 (a barrel) of oil,” Dudley said. “Our best case valuation is still at $75 (a barrel).”
The head of BP said the oil business remains cyclical and that it was not long ago when world oil prices collapsed. “It was not long ago that I remember we saw $9 a barrel (of oil),” he said. “We are not going to get exuberant, we are going to continue to be conservative right now.”
BP said the company has received “multiple expressions of interest” for the two refineries it is selling in the U.S. and that they are still expected to be divested by the end of 2012. BP announced in February it will sell its 437,000-barrels-a-day Texas City refinery and another smaller refinery in Carson, Calif., which the company expects will fetch in excess of $3.7 billion.
Dudley said four weeks ago BP shut down its Holstein platform in the Gulf of Mexico after an internal investigation showed some standards needed to be improved. The company expects to put the platform back online in about two weeks.
The CEO said that the federal government and companies have given “big steps” in order to restart exploratory drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
“I think it’s just a matter of time…(permits) are coming now,” he said. The U.S. government imposed a drilling moratorium in the area last year after the blowout of a rig leased by BP resulted in an explosion and massive oil spill.
Dudley said the company maintains its stance that the reason for the spill was not its negligence, and that the Justice Department is not currently investigating the company on that issue. “From everything we have seen…we do not believe that BP was grossly negligent,” Dudley said.
-By Isabel Ordonez, Dow Jones Newswires;