BP chief executive Bob Dudley is understood to have told analysts at a private dinner that he was keeping a "watching brief" on unconventional oil and gas assets.
The energy giant is rarely associated with some of the more unusual sources of energy, such as fracturing fine-grained shale rock to reach tightly bound gas reservoirs. Such exploration is on the rise in the industry, as easy-to-access oil and gas sources dwindle. However, at an analysts' dinner on Wednesday, Mr Dudley asked guests what they thought about the potential of shale gas. An attendee said: "Dudley sees non-conventional as a long-term, important part of the business to 2030. They will keep a watching brief in non-conventional assets ... and he asked what we thought of US shale gas."
BP already has some US shale investments, but has limited its work there while the country's gas prices are so low. It is also believed that Mr Dudley expressed some doubt about the potential of European shale gas, which is deeper and harder to reach.
Mr Dudley dined with the analysts after BP's third-quarter results last week, when he declared that the company had reached a "definite turning point" following last year's Gulf of Mexico spill.