BP announces new asset sale

OIL giant BP has now sold £12.8m worth of assets to help pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster after offloading its majority stake in an Argentina-based company.

The group announced it had sold its 60 per cent interest in oil and gas firm Pan American Energy (PAE) to Bridas Corporation, a company half-owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, for 4.5bn

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The sale brings BP closer to its target to sell up to 19bn of assets by the end of 2011 to help pay the compensation bill for the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April - which sparked the largest offshore oil spill in history.

Before the deal, BP had secured 8.9bn worth of asset sales, by selling interests in North America, Egypt, Venezuela, Vietnam and Colombia.

BP group chief executive Bob Dudley said: "Today's agreement further demonstrates both the high quality and attractiveness of the assets throughout BP's global portfolio and also the company's ability to meet our significant financial commitments arising from the Gulf of Mexico tragedy."

BP ultimately expects the cost of the oil spill to be in the region of 25.6bn.

Earlier this month, BP revealed an additional charge of 4.9bn, in addition to a 20bn hit in the second quarter.

The initial charge included a 12.9bn compensation fund and sent BP into the red for the first time in 18 years.