BP and Lasmo swap assets

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The Independent Online
BRITISH Petroleum and Lasmo, which separately hold the largest number of stakes in the British North Sea oil sector, are swapping some of their offshore assets.

The move is part of both companies' strategy to rationalise their investments so that they can concentrate on a smaller number of key blocks.

Under the terms of two all- paper transactions Lasmo will effectively swap five of its existing licences for four of BP's.

Three of the blocks acquired by Lasmo contain discoveries and strengthen its presence in the central and southern North Sea sectors. The most important involves block 49/4a, which is next to the big Markham gas field under development by Lasmo.

In return, BP's involvement in the Pierce and Medan fields will receive a boost. Chris Gibson- Smith, chief executive of BP European exploration activities, said: 'This agreement provides an excellent strategic fit for both companies and reflects BP's commitment to maximising the value of its North Sea portfolio.'

BP shares rose 4p to 214p while Lasmo's were unchanged at 172p.