BP to sell two stakes in North Sea for £179m

BP said yesterday it had agreed to sell its minority stakes in two North Sea fields to Japanese trading company Mitsui for $280m (£179m), as part of a plan to focus its portfolio in the region on larger scale projects.

The oil major announced that Mitsui would buy a 13.3 per cent stake in the Alba field and an 8.97 per cent stake in the Britannia operation in a cash deal.

BP regional president for the North Sea, Trevor Garlick, said: “The divestments are part of our strategy to develop a more focused business in the UK and Norway.”

The FTSE 100 firm, which also sold $400m of gas fields in the North Sea earlier this year, is selling smaller assets to concentrate on six major projects in the Norwegian and British sections of the North Sea.

The deal is part of BP’s $38bn asset disposal programme, which is raising funds to help pay for the ongoing cost of cleaning up the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company sold $1bn worth of US gas assets to Linn Energy on Monday, and in a deal that could be worth as much as $25bn if it succeeds, BP said earlier in June it could sell its 50 per cent stake in Russian oil joint venture TNK-BP. The venture has been plagued by controversy, with both parties seeking an exit.

BP chief executive Bob Dudley said of yesterday’s deal: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement, continuing our global relationship with Mitsui.”