BHP Billiton has increased its petroleum output to 67.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in the September quarter, up seven per cent on the same time last year.

The production rise came as the company’s onshore US liquids volumes rose by 49% to a record 11.5 MMboe.

“This strong performance was underpinned by continued momentum in the Black Hawk and Permian where liquids production increased by 53% and 141%, respectively,” the company said in its third quarter statement.

“We remain confident that shale liquids volumes will rise by approximately 50% in the 2015 financial year.”

In its conventional business, liquids production at Atlantis increased by 38% in the September quarter as the operation benefited from the completion of two production wells in the June 2014 quarter.

At Pyrenees, offshore Western Australia, production increased by 24% in the quarter following the completion of five new production wells in the second half of the 2014 financial year.

Meanwhile, the company’s natural gas production rate of 219 billion cubic feet was unchanged.

BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said a robust operating performance across its diversified portfolio throughout the quarter delivered a 9% increase in production with records achieved for eight operations and four commodities.

“With production guidance maintained across all operations and businesses, we remain on track to generate group production growth of 16% over the two years to the end of the 2015 financial year,” he said.

During the quarter, petroleum exploration expenditure totalled US$154 million, of which US$146 million was expensed.

A US$750 million exploration program, largely focused on the Gulf of Mexico, Western Australia and Trinidad and Tobago is planned for the 2015 financial year.

Favourable economic reforms in Mexico led to BHP Billiton and state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos signing a memorandum of understanding and cooperation on 25 September to exchange technical knowledge, information, experiences and practices in activities related to the oil and gas industry.

Guidance for the 2015 financial year remains unchanged at 255 MMboe with strong performance at its onshore US acreage expected to underpin a 16 MMboe increase in total liquids production.

Total conventional volumes for the 2015 financial year are forecast to remain broadly unchanged, consistent with the company’s prior guidance.