BP to rapidly expand hiring of graduates, exec says

BP expects to more than triple this year the number of engineering, science and business graduates it recruits as it pumps more money into its upstream operation and seeks to grow its exploration and production around the world, an executive said Monday at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

“To make sure the long-term future is developed, our exploration hopper has been significantly expanded,” said Lamar McKay, BP’s upstream chief.  “We are leveraging this structure to deliver even better and safer execution across the organization. And to staff that organization, we are working actively to identify and bring on-board the best minds available.”

McKay said that in 2009, the British oil giant recruited around 300 such graduates. It is aiming to hire around 900 this year, and by 2014, BP is planning to hire around 1,000 every year, he said.

McKay also spoke about BP’s operations in various countries and the surge in the industry’s use of new technology to tap new sources of oil and gas.

OTC Guest Commentary: BP at forefront of U.S. energy revolution

“OTC was once predominantly for people interested in the offshore. But lately, there’s been a lot more onshore representation. That’s evidence of how our industry is changing — and how much the onshore and the offshore have to learn from one another,” McKay said.

McKay said he believes BP has become a safer and stronger company, even in the face of $38 billion in divestments in the last three years as it overhauled its portfolio and increased its reserves to pay for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill liabilities.

While some in the industry and government worry about the rise in global energy demand and the ability of oil and gas firms to meet that demand, McKay said Big Oil is ready for the challenge.

“At current consumption rates, the data suggests the world has 54 years’ worth of proved oil reserves and 64 years’ worth of proved gas reserves in place,” he said. “And those numbers will be pushed out even further as the unfolding revolution in unconventional oil and gas continues expanding.”

New leader: BP America chief to meet with workers to hear challenges they face

McKay cited  U.S. Energy Department data that projects that U.S. gas production alone is likely to grow 44 percent between now and 2040, driven almost entirely by shale. U.S. oil production has grown to its highest level in years and looks to grow further into the future, he said.

“Important as the traditional source countries are, the fact is we are searching for and finding hydrocarbons in new places and in new basins all over the world,” McKay said.

As for the Gulf, where BP remains the largest deepwater leaseholder, McKay said the company continues to invest billions of dollars.

“This strong, well-established position is built around assets still early in their life-cycle,” he said.