BP looks to sell £2bn of North Sea oil assets

BP has put several of its North Sea oil assets worth close to £2bn up for sale just a week after the chancellor unveiled tax breaks for the industry in a move to encourage more exploration in the region.

BP, which won approval last week to drill a deepwater well off the coast of the Shetland Islands, launched an auction this month to sell many of its stakes in reservoirs where it holds a minority position, according to reports this weekend.

Jefferies, the US investment bank, has been hired to advise on the sale.

BP is, however, continuing to invest in the North Sea and in October the oil giant and its partners were granted government approval to push ahead with the second-phase £4.5bn development of the giant Clair field, west of the Shetland Islands.

BP and its partners also announced plans last year for the £3bn redevelopment of the Schiehallion and Loyal fields, west of Shetland, and the £700m development of the Kinnoull field in the central North Sea.

The company is also divesting North Sea Assets such as the sale Wytch Farm to Perenco last year for $600m (£378m) and working to sell its Southern North Sea gas assets.

BP declined to comment.