BP raises £687m in North Sea deal
on 28/11/2012 14:10:34
The British oil giant is selling assets to Taqa, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, as it continues to raise cash to pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BP insisted it was still a major investor in the North Sea, with plans to invest $10bn (€7.7bn) over the next five years in the region.
The sale means BP has now sold 37bn (€28.5bn) of assets under plans to raise $38bn (€29.3bn) by the end of 2013 following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst oil spill in US history.
The deal is expected to complete in the second quarter of next year, subject to regulatory approvals.
The deal comes after reports suggested BP was set to lose its role in the United Arab Emirates oil sector due to the country's strained relations with the UK.
British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the UAE earlier this month in a bid to improve relations and strengthen the UK's defence, security and commercial ties in the region.
The assets included in North Sea sale are interests in the BP-operated Maclure, Harding and Devenick fields and non-operated interests in the Brae complex of fields and the Braemar field.
Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said: "This transaction is in line with BP's strategy to focus on a smaller number of higher-value assets with long-term growth potential."
BP said its annual North Sea production averages around 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and the company has more than three billion barrels of estimated proven and contingent resource available in the region.
The company employs more than 3,000 staff in its North Sea business and operates around 30 oil and gas fields.
BP recently agreed a $4.5bn (€3.4bn) settlement with US authorities for claims relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster - the biggest fine ever recorded in the US.
BP will pay the fine over six years after reaching a deal with the United States Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission that has seen it plead guilty to 14 criminal charges relating to the oil rig accident in 2010.