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Business News

BP sells £250m North Sea assets


BP sold assets in the North Sea today in a £251.7 million deal but insisted it is still committed to developing around the UK.

The British supermajor has agreed to sell a number of manned and unmanned platforms off the coast of Yorkshire and a terminal at Dimlington to oil and gas company Perenco for 400 million US dollars, as it looks to pay for the Deepwater Horizon spill.

But BP said it still has ambitious plans for the North Sea, and is building four major projects in UK waters and two near Norway as part of a £10 billion investment programme over the next five years with other major players in the industry.

The projects, which include the giant Clair field, west of the Shetland Islands, represent its biggest ever annual investment in the UK's offshore industry.

At their peak, it is expected that the projects will provide 3,000 UK oil and gas supply jobs and play a part in sustaining the more than 3,000 jobs already existing in BP's North Sea operations.

BP said some 200 staff working at the assets will transfer to Perenco on completion of the deal, which is expected before the end of 2012.

Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, said: "Together with our partners, BP is currently progressing projects in the UK offshore that will involve a total investment of £10 billion over the next five years - representing the highest level of annual investment BP has ever made into the UK's offshore industry.

"Actively managing our portfolio allows us to concentrate our people, capabilities and investment on sustaining BP's business in the North Sea for the long term."

Today's sale means BP has now sold 23 billion US dollars of assets as part of plans to raise 38 billion US dollars between 2010 and the end of 2013. It faces a 43 billion US dollar bill for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP last year sold its Wytch Farm terminal, which is set in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty in the Dorset countryside, with three neighbouring fields to Perenco for 610 million US dollars (£384 million).