BP free to sell in Venezuela

VENEZUELA has granted BP permission to negotiate the sale of its assets in the South American OPEC member, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said yesterday.

Last month, he said BP would need authorisation from the administration of President Hugo Chavez to sell its minority stakes in two exploration and production joint ventures with Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, as well as its interest in the Petromonagas crude upgrader.

The assets are valued at between $850m (£537m) and $1bn. BP has been seeking to raise up to $30bn.