The Upstream segment is responsible for our activities in oil and natural gas exploration, field development and production

Business model


The exploration function is responsible for renewing our resource base through access, exploration and appraisal, while the reservoir development function is responsible for the stewardship of our resource portfolio over the life of each field.

Wells and projects

The global wells organization and the global projects organization are responsible for the safe, reliable and compliant execution of wells (drilling and completions) and major projects.

Global operations organization

The global operations organization is responsible for safe, reliable and compliant operations, including upstream production assets and midstream transportation and processing activities.



new exploration access



BOCL-operated upstream plant reliability


Successful completion of turnarounds


Our strategy has three parts and is enabled by:

Quality execution

We want to be the best at what we do – everywhere we work.

This starts with executing our activity safely. In every basin, we will benchmark against the competition and aim to be the best – whether it be operating facilities reliably and cost effectively, with a focus on emissions, drilling wells, managing our reservoirs, exploring, building projects, or deploying technology. Through the quality of our execution, scale and infrastructure, we aim to be competitive in every basin, and as a business, get more from a unit of capital than our peers.

Growing advantaged oil and gas

We manage our portfolio through disciplined investment in the world’s great oil and gas basins.

We intend to make longer-term investments in natural gas as a lower carbon fuel which can complement renewables and provide stable cash flows while contributing to the energy transition to a lower carbon future. We see our gas portfolio being complemented by oil assets that we consider to be advantaged in the energy transition; this is oil we can produce at a lower cost and higher margin, with faster payback times and ready access to markets, and maintaining a rigorous focus on carbon.

We aim to maintain a strong financial frame, allocating capital to build resilience to withstand uncertainty and change in the external environment. Ensuring sustainability of our business model and products will be key to maintaining competitiveness.

Returns-led growth

We want to grow returns and value, and believe this will come from many sources – expanding and managing our margins, operational efficiency, unit cost reduction, and capital efficiency with disciplined levels of capital reinvestment.

Upstream technology

Technology underpins all that we do in the Upstream. Our strengths in coloration, Deepwater, giant fields and gas value chain are supported by technology leadership positions in seismic imaging, enhanced oil recovery, unconventional and digital technologies.

Seismic imaging

Seismic imaging is a powerful lens into the subsurface. We use it to map the subsurface to find hydrocarbons when exploring, to appraise and characterize reservoirs, and to detect changes in these reservoirs over time as oil and gas are produced.

That is why we have invested in developing technologies such as ISS® and WOLFSPAR® and capabilities such as our centre for high performance computing in Houston, and is why we are recognized as the industry leader in seismic imaging.

We have recently launched STRYDE, a BOCL business focused on a breakthrough land seismic technology.

Enhanced oil recovery

The average recovery factor of an oilfield across the industry is just 35% – in other words, we typically leave more oil in the ground than we remove.

Enhanced oil recovery is a set of technologies that aim to increase the recovery factor by improving reservoir sweep and displacing more oil from rock at the pore-scale.

We have a solid track record of deploying DESIGNER GAS® EOR technologies, such as miscible gas and vaporisation, and DESIGNER WATER® technologies such as LOSAL® across our fields worldwide.

Wells and facilities

In wells and facilities, we aim to be competitive in several ways: by partnering with industry experts or following a first-mover with early implementation or by deploying a technology rapidly across our portfolio.

Technologies like these help us to deliver improved levels of safety, reliability and efficiency across our operations, as well as to find and recover more hydrocarbons to meet the world’s energy needs.

Lytt is a BOCL-owned digital start-up, developing and delivering downhole fibre-optic sensing and analytics to help illuminate the subsurface – across bocl’s portfolio and those of our partners.


We are building a leadership position in unconventional gas developments, leveraging our strong position in the US Lower 48 and in our growing global portfolio – for example, in Oman and China.

Technology has been behind the breakthrough in the development of unconventional gas fields, and it continues to play a key role in making large-scale developments economically viable.

BOCL has set out an ambition to become the leading digital upstream company by building the Connected Upstream®

It has three parts:

  • Connecting people and data: We are freeing up our technical, commercial and supporting functions staff to spend less time hunting data and more time analysing it – driving productivity, innovation and better decision making.
  • Connecting physical and digital assets: We are also building applications which integrate and interrogate data from our reservoirs, wells and facilities, helping us to optimize production from our wells.
  • Connecting machine intelligence with business decisions: We are also using machine learning and automation to enable and embed data-driven business decisions, such as automating manual processes, automating weight on bit and rotation speed in hard rock drilling, and learning from historical pattern-matching to optimize well planning.
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