BP to raise $1.1bn from North Sea field sale

London, Dec 6, 2012: BP sells its stakes in its North Sea oil and gas fields for $1.06bn (£663m) to an Abu Dhabi’s energy group. Prime Minister David Cameron said agreement positioned the North Sea as a global energy hub and the takings from the deal will help cover huge amounts from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) will get hold of stakes in the BP-operated Harding, Maclure and Devenick fields. He said that the deal would show that changes to the North Sea tax regime are will help to generate jobs in Scotland and UK, making sure we do well in the global race. Chief executive of Taqa, Carl Sheldon, said the deal would add 21,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day to its output. Peter Hutton, energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets says the disposed assets produce 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

The latest deal follows a sale of BP’s southern North Sea gas assets to France’s Perenco for $400m. BP is trying to divert from aging fields to focus on other projects in central UK and Norwegian waters. In September the UK government disclosed a tax break for oil and gas companies in a bid to turn around a decline in production.

Mike Tholen, Oil & Gas UK’s economics and commercial director said, the new tax allowances look attractive to investors and have invested in various challenging fields, expecting the government to deliver certainty on tax relief on decommissioning.

China’s Sinopec bought a 49% stake in July, in the North Sea assets of Calgary-based Talisman Energy valued $1.5bn. BP’s current sale makes total disposals from 2010 to about $37bn, close to a $38bn target put by the company to pay for the entire cost of the accident including fines and other liabilities. BP will also plead guilty to 14 criminal charges as a part of the deal.

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