Oil platform
A section of the BP Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) oil platform is seen in the North Sea, around 100 miles east of Aberdeen in Scotland, Britain Reuters

Oil and gas giant BP expects the oil price to stay within the $45-55 per barrel range in 2018, according to the company's chief financial officer Brian Gilvary.

Speaking to newswire Reuters on Tuesday (1 August), Gilvary said global demand is looking "pretty strong", and that "prices will firm around the levels seen today."

"We can now see where the price elasticity is. As the price comes up to $52-$53 a barrel we start to see some uptick in activity, as it drops to $45, we start to see that curtailing. For 2018 something around $45-$55 a barrel is probably a good range," Gilvary added.

The CFO's statement comes after BP's chief executive Bob Dudley described the era of $100 oil prices as an "aberration" in an interview with IBTimes UK.

"I think we'll all look back in history and think the period of three years [prior to 2014] at $100 per barrel or above was an aberration. It does feel that the market is getting back to a more normal range."

Dudley also noted: "We need to lower our sights on the oil price to ensure we can operate at prices much lower than $60. The digitisation, technological advancement and cost optimisation trajectory we are on, would see us break-even in the $30s by 2021. The $35-40 range remains a realistic short-term ambition for us as a company."

Earlier in the session the oil giant reported a 10% rise in oil and gas production from a number of new projects, and posted a net profit of $684m (£517.5m)

However, BP also said it had taken an impairment charge of $753m to exit exploration in Angola.

Regardless of the setback, the FTSE 100 company said it plans to launch seven oil and gas projects in 2017; the biggest number in a single financial year in its history.

At 11:20am BST, BP shares were up 2.95% or 13.16p at 459.01p.