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BP Sells More Assets To Pad Spill Payback Fund

Agustino Fontevecchia

Oil company divests four fields in the Gulf of Mexico to Japan’s Marubeni for $650 million.

As the fog settles after the worst oil spill in the history of the U.S., BP continues selling off assets to help pay for the cleanup and compensation for victims of the disaster.

On Monday, the British oil company announced it will sell four fields in the Gulf of Mexico to the oil and gas unit of Japan’s Marubeni ( MARUY.PKnews people ). The deal, worth $650 million, is the latest in BP ( BPnews people )’s effort to raise up to $30 billion by the end of 2011

The four fields being purchased produce approximately 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day. BP ( BPnews people ) purchased the assets from Devon Energy ( DVNnews people ) in March 2010 as part of a $7 billion deal.

BP and Marubeni expect to close their all-cash deal in early 2011. BP played down any significance of assets being located in the Gulf. The company said “the four fields didn’t fit well with the rest of our business in the region.”

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Monday’s sale comes on the heels of $1.8 billion in divestitures last week, when BP sold assets in Venezuela and Vietnam to TNK-BP, a joint venture in which it has a 50% stake. Those assets yield some 25,000 boe per day.

In prepared remarks to a British business lobbying group Monday, BP CEO, Bob Dudley, an American citizen, stressted that “safety, compliance, and operational risk management […] will be the sole criteria for performance reward for the remainder of the year.”

Dudley also chastised the press and their competitors for a “great rush to judgment […] before the full facts could be possibly known.” Exxon Mobil ( XOMnews people ), Royal Dutch Shell ( RDSAnews people ), and Chevron ( CVXnews people ) criticized BP for drilling the blown out well during the spill.

The fields purchased by Marubeni form part of the Kaskida Field, one of the deepest in the Gulf of Mexico, which is drilled to about 32,500 feet in water depth of 5,900 feet. The Paleogene rock formations date back between 23 and 65 million years. BP still remains the largest oil and gas producer in the Gulf of Mexico, with current net production totaling approximately 400,000 boe a day.

BP’s stock was up 14 cents or 0.4% to $40.64 in early trading on Monday.

Source: Forbes

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