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BP puts UK oil and gas field assets up for sale

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Feb 22, 2011
BP said Tuesday that it will seek to sell its holdings in a "number" of UK oil and gas fields, as part of an ongoing restructuring.

"BP announced today the intention of selling its interests in a number of operated oil and gas fields in the UK," it said in a statement.

"The assets involved are the Wytch Farm onshore oilfield in Dorset and all of BP's operated gas fields in the Southern North Sea, including associated pipeline infrastructure and the Dimlington terminal.

"BP anticipates that the staff currently working on these assets will transfer employment to the new buyer when the divestments are completed."

"These divestments will allow BP to focus resources and investment on its diverse central North Sea, northern North Sea, West of Shetland and Norway assets and on successful delivery of its new major projects."

BP remains on course to sell $30 billion of assets this year to help meet the cost of the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

However, a company spokesman told AFP that Tuesday's sale was not triggered by the oil spill divestment programme -- but was part of a "longer term restructuring of the UK portfolio".

The news comes one day after BP and India's Reliance Industries announced a large investment deal which could be worth up to $20 billion, with later investment in key Indian oil and gas assets.

BP will pay $7.2 billion (5.3 billion euros) to Reliance for a 30-percent stake in 23 Indian oil and gas blocks, unveiling another major foreign venture as it seeks to move on from last year's oil disaster.

Last month, meanwhile, BP joined forces with Russia's Rosneft in what could be another transforming deal to explore for oil in the Arctic region.

The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster was triggered by a blast on the Deepwater Horizon rig -- leased by BP and operated by Transocean Energy -- that killed 11 workers last April.

The broken well was eventually plugged but not before it gushed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf waters.

Facing a massive compensation bill for the spill, BP has already managed to recoup around $20 billion by offloading interests in Argentina, North America, Egypt, Venezuela, Vietnam and Colombia.

earlier related report
BP signs $7.2 billion deal with India
Mumbai (UPI) Feb 22, 2011 -Oil giant BP will pay $7.2 billion for a 30 percent stake in 23 oil and gas blocks controlled by Reliance Industries Ltd. in India, BP announced.

The 23 oil and gas blocks together cover approximately 104,248 square miles, making the partnership India's largest private sector holder of exploration acreage. The blocks lie in depths ranging from 1,312 feet to more than 9,843 feet.

Only one of the blocks, Krishna Godavari D6, is in production, with an output of 1.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, accounting for 40 percent of Indian gas output.

Under the deal, Reliance, India's largest company by market capitalization, will continue as operator under production sharing contracts. The deal also provides for a 50-50 joint venture for the sourcing and marketing of gas in India.

The agreement follows BP's $16 billion share swap with Russian state oil company Rosneft last month.

"We are delighted to partner with BP, one of the largest energy majors and one of the finest deep-water exploration companies in the world," said Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, in a statement. "This partnership combines the skills of both companies and will be focused on finding more hydrocarbons in the deep-water blocks of India and significantly contribute to India's energy security."

BP, in its Energy Outlook 2030 forecast of global energy released last month, said energy consumption in India had grown 190 percent over the past 20 years and is likely to grow 115 percent in the next 20 years. Demand for gas, India's fastest growing fossil fuel, is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 5 percent a year from 2010-30, the BP analysis shows.

"India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. By allying ourselves with RIL (Reliance), we will access the most prolific gas basin in India and secure a place in the fast growing Indian gas markets, creating a genuinely distinctive BP position,'' said BP Group Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley in a statement.

Reliance said it had been in discussions with BP since late 2007.

In 2005, BP had proposed to partner with Oil and Natural Gas Corp, India's largest state-owned oil company, in three of its deep-sea blocks off the east and west coasts of India, Press Trust of India reports. That bid was rejected by India's oil ministry, sources said, because the petroleum exploration license for the blocks was set to end during the next two years.

BP also announced Monday that it was temporarily halting operations in Libya because of rising violence.

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