Venezuela to allow BP sale

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BP got a green light from Hugo Chavez's Government in Venezuela yesterday to open talks on the sale of assets in the South American country.

The group, which is set to sell off several assets around the world to help fund compensation claims made against it after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, had previously announced it would need permission from the administration in Caracas to offload minority stakes in two exploration and production projects.

The assets are held as part of a joint venture with Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA and are thought to be worth between $850m an £1bn.

Confirmation that BP would be given permission to start talks on a sale came from the country's oil minister Rafael Ramirez. "They consulted us, asked if we had a problem... and we said no," he said. PSVSA is understood to be interested in taking sole ownership of the projects.