BP plans to sell North Sea assets worth $3.2 billion: report

British oil giant BP Plc is planning to sell some of its North Sea assets worth nearly £2 billion ($3.2 billion), The Sunday Times yesterday reported, citing industry sources.

The London-based company had  launched an auction early this month to sell many of its stakes in the North Sea fields where it holds a minority interest, and had hired investment bank Jefferies as an adviser to the sale process, the paper said.

North Sea oil production has been on the decline for the past several years after peaking around the end of the late 1990s, though it still holds plenty of oil rhat can be extracted using new seismic technologies, horizontal drilling and other enhanced oil recovery techniques, say oil industry experts.

Despite this, oil majors such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell do not want to waste time on ageing oil blocks and prefer to look at newer and larger fields elsewhere.

This gives an opportunity to smaller companies to buy minority stakes in the North Sea, where bigger oil companies are the operators.

BP has been selling its assets around the world after the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. It has since sold some $22.9 billion-worth of assets world-wide in order to meet the estimated $40 billion cost in cleanup and lawsuits.