Belfast Telegraph

BP sheds assets to fund Gulf clean-up

By Russell Lynch

Oil giant BP has raised more cash to meet the huge cost of the Gulf of Mexico spill after agreeing the $1.9bn (£1.2bn) sale of its Colombian oil and gas exploration business.

The deal will bring the funds raised by disposals to almost $9bn (£5.6bn) so far after it sold assets in the US, Canada and Egypt to US firm Apache two weeks ago.

BP is targeting $30bn (£18.8bn) in sales after it last week revealed the spill had cost it $32.2bn (£20.2bn) so far - sending the firm to its first quarterly loss in 18 years.

The buyer of BP's Colombian assets is a consortium between Ecopetrol, the country's national oil company, and Canada's Talisman.

The sales represent the majority of BP's interests in the country, where it has had a presence for more than 20 years.

BP's outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward said: "It now makes sense for the assets to go to owners more willing than BP to invest in their future development."

The latest estimates from the US Government suggest 4.1 million barrels of oil has escaped into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank on April 20, with the loss of 11 lives.

BP is about to launch efforts to plug the well in a "static kill" operation which will involve pumping mud and cement into the well in a bid to force the oil back into the reservoir after delays caused by a hydraulic leak on Monday.