BP to launch $20bn sale of stake in Prudhoe Bay oil field

BP has put its $20bn (£12.9bn) stake in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil field up for sale as part of the oil major’s move to cover the rising costs of the Gulf of Mexico spill.

The sale falls in line with plans announced by BP to auction off roughly $30bn in global assets to help pay for one of the worst environmental disasters in history.

BP came close to selling its 26 per cent stake in Prudhoe Bay in June to rivals Apache, but the deal fell through when neither could agree on a price.

It is understood that BP could also shed a large portion of its North Sea assets, which could generate up to $10bn. The group’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP is thought to be a possible buyer.

The group has already raised $10bn from asset sales.

A spokesperson from BP declined to comment on both sales.

News of the sales comes as BP is readying to publish the findings of its internal investigation into the cause of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster, which led to 206m gallons of oil being leaked into the Gulf and has already cost $8bn to clean-up.

BP’s group head of safety and operations, Mark Bly, who conducted the investigation, is expected to publish his report within the next 10 days.

The “Bly Report” could have serious legal implications for the oil giant, if it is found to have been “grossly negligent”.