BP sells Argentine venture for £4bn

BP is selling its stake in the Argentina-based oil-and-gas company Pan American Energy (PAE) to its joint-venture partner for $7.06bn (£4bn) as part of a disposal plan designed to raise cash to pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP's 60 per cent interest in PAE is being bought by Argentina's Bridas Corp, which already owns 40 per cent in the venture. The deal is expected to be completed in 2011, and takes the oil giant's total sell-offs since the spill to $21 billion.

Bridas is half-owned by China's CNOOC. The deal shows the ambition of Chinese state-owned firms in the international energy sphere.