BP plans sale of North Sea oil operations

BP yesterday revealed plans to sell several assets it holds in the southern North Sea valued at around $1bn (£620m).

The oil firm plans to use the proceeds of the sale to plug the void left in its finances following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The sale of the stake will bring the total value of asset disposals by BP close to $23bn.

The firm aims to raise $30bn this year as part of a divestment programme to cover the costs of the Macondo well spill.

However, the final bill is yet to be settled, with estimates currently close to $41bn before tax.

Part of the assets BP plans to sell include the first commercial discovery in the UK sector of the North Sea.

First discovered in 1965, the firm’s West Sole operation off the coast of Lincolnshire has gradually seen its output decrease – prompting the disposal.

BP is also selling its controlling interest in Wytch Farm, an onshore oil field in Dorset.

The collected output of the assets BP has put up for sale is around 40,000 barrels per day, well below the output of its more modern operations.

Around 250 staff are expected to transfer across to a new owner as part of the sale.

Regional president for the area Trevor Garlick said: “The assets we intend to divest are of high value but find it difficult to compete for capital and resource within our North Sea portfolio.