British energy group BP (IW 1000/3) said March 27 it has agreed to sell assets including gas fields in the North Sea to Anglo-French peer Perenco for $400 million in cash.
The deal to sell southern gas assets (SGA) further helps BP to unlock billions of dollars to meet compensation costs linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by a blast on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon platform.
The assets include a number of manned and unmanned platforms off the coast of Yorkshire, northern England, and a terminal at Dimlington.
"We are pleased to have reached this agreement" with Perenco, said Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, in a company statement.
"Perenco is committed to investing in and developing SGA beyond BP's plans, ultimately providing a longer-term future for the assets and the people who work there."
Current net production from the SGA assets stands at about 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Last year, Perenco purchased BP's Wytch Farm oil field in Dorset, southwestern England, along with three other neighbouring fields for $610 million.
BP added that including the latest sale, it has now raised $23 billion from disposals of assets since 2010 -- still some way behind a target of $38 billion it hopes to meet by the end of next year -- to meet its oil spill costs.
The company also said that about 200 staff would transfer to Perenco on completion of the SGA deal, which is due before the end of the year.
However, the energy major pledged that it still has ambitious plans for the North Sea region.
"The divestment of SGA is part of BP's strategy to develop a more focused North Sea business in the UK and Norway," added Garlick in the statement.
"BP has a multi-billion pound investment programme currently underway, with four major field development projects in the UK and a further two in Norway.
"Together with our partners, BP is currently progressing projects in the UK offshore that will involve a total investment of $16 billion over the next five years."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012