(EnergyAsia, December 3 2012, Monday) — Beleaguered UK major BP said it has completed the sale of oil and gas fields in the US Gulf of Mexico and agreed to sell off its North Sea assets to two companies in deals worth a total of approximately US$6.65 billion.

In separate statements on November 30, BP said Houston, Texas-based Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP) completed its US$5.5 billion acquisition of five assets in the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico while Abu Dhabi National Energy Company or Taqa agreed to pay US$1.058 billion plus future payments for the North Sea assets.

BP had announced its all-cash sale to PXP in September as part of a programme to sell off non-strategic assets to pay for billions of dollars in damage caused by the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.

The assets include the Marlin hub and Horn Mountain, both fully owned by BP, and the partially owned Holstein, Ram Powell and Diana Hoover fields.

Bob Dudley, BP’s group’s chief executive, said: “We have concentrated our Gulf of Mexico business around our major operated and non-operated production hubs, each of which has significant future growth potential, together with our leading exploration position. This repositioning and simplification has allowed us to focus our capability and personnel on delivering long-term growth from our core assets in the Gulf,” he said.

The company said it will concentrate future activity and investment in the deepwater Gulf on growth opportunities around its four major operated production hubs – Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika — and three non-operated production hubs – Mars, Ursa and Great White — as well as on significant exploration and appraisal opportunities.

BP expects to make an annual average investment of at least US$4 billion in the Gulf of Mexico through the next decade.

In its agreement with Taqa, BP will receive US$1.058 billion cash as well as future payments linked to oil price and production that it expects will exceed US$250 million. The sold assets include the BP-operated Maclure, Harding and Devenick fields and non-operated interests in the Brae complex of fields and the Braemar field.

Still subject to third party and regulatory approvals, the sale is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2013.

Since the start of 2010, BP said it has entered into agreements to sell assets valued at around US$37 billion. Between 2010 and 2013, it expects to sell off assets to raise another US$38 billion.