Monday, September 10, 2012

BP selling oil fields in Gulf of Mexico ahead of Deepwater Horizon fines

BP has agreed to sell some of its Gulf of Mexico oil fields for $5.6bn as it builds up cash reserves ahead of potentially huge fines for 2010's Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The British oil giant is selling its interests in older smaller fields in the gulf to Plains Exploration & Production of Houston. BP will remain a major operator in the area.

"While these assets no longer fit our business strategy, the Gulf of Mexico remains a key part of BP's global exploration and production portfolio, and we intend to continue investing at least $4bn there annually over the next decade," chief executive Bob Dudley said in a statement.

"This sale, as with previous divestments, is consistent with our strategy of playing to our strengths as a company and positioning us for long-term growth. In the Gulf of Mexico, that means focusing future investments on our strong set of producing assets and promising exploration prospects."

On completion of the transaction, BP will continue to operate four large production platforms in the region – Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika – and hold interests in three non-operated hubs – Mars, Ursa and Great White.

Analysts calculate that BP faces a fine of up to $20bn under the clean water act for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The blowout killed 11 workers and pumped about 4.9m barrels of oil into the Gulf.

Transocean, the company that owned Deepwater Horizon, said Monday that it was in discussions with the justice department to pay $1.5bn to resolve civil and criminal claims related to the US's worst offshore oil spill.

Last week the US department of justice launched a withering attack on BP over its handling of the disaster. In court papers government lawyers said BP had made "plainly misleading representations" in its settlement proposals. More


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