Refinery sell-off raises $2.5bn towards BP's Gulf of Mexico spill bill

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The Independent Online

BP continued its giant sell-off after agreeing to dispose of its Carson refinery in California to America's Tesoro for $2.5bn (£1.6bn) yesterday.

The deal, which also includes assets such as pipelines, storage terminals and Arco-branded retail outlets in southern California, Arizona and Nevada, brings the amount of money BP has now raised through its ongoing sale process to $26.5bn since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in April 2010.

BP plans to sell a total of $38bn worth of assets as it seeks to repay bills relating to the clean-up, fines and compensation that have arisen from the Macondo spill which resulted in 11 deaths and widespread damage to the environment. Tesoro will also get Carson's inventory as part of the deal.

BP announced in February last year that it planned to sell its Carson 266,000 barrel-a-day refinery near Los Angeles and the Texas City Refinery in Texas to concentrate on its more profitable US refining business in the north of the country. Carson is the first of the refineries to be sold.

"Together with the intended sale of Texas City, this will allow us to focus BP's operations and investments exclusively on our three northern US refineries," Iain Conn, the chief executive of BP's global refining and marketing business, said.

"When complete we will have a smaller, but well-positioned and very competitive portfolio of refining and marketing businesses in the US."

The Carson sale comes hard on the heels of another deal – announced on Friday – in which BP offloaded its Sunray and Hemphill gas processing plants in Texas to Eagle Rock Energy Partners for $227.5m. The plants have a capacity of 220 million cubic feet of gas per day and a gathering system of about 2,500 miles of pipelines. This month, BP also sold its liquefied petroleum gas distribution business in the UK for $62m.

The latest sale comes a fortnight after BP reported a dramatic swing into the red during the second quarter with a $1.4bn loss, down from a $5.75bn profit a year earlier as the group took nearly $5bn of writedowns on assets such as its shale gas business in the US.