NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get Report are declining 4.20% to $26.06 in Monday morning trading as the Australian miner plans to increase its exploration spending by 29% next year.
The company intends to invest about $900 million in exploration in 2017, representing 18% of its overall capital budget of $5 billion.
The majority of the budget will be put toward offshore conventional oil drilling, while copper will receive about 25%, according to analysts cited by Reuters.
"BHP is making it clear that oil and copper top the list for growth potential," Shaw and Partners mining analyst Peter O'Connor told Reuters. "M&A isn't off the agenda, but BHP isn't waiting around for the next big opportunity."