BP Sells Wytch Farm Terminal In Dorset

BP's announced it's sold several assets in the UK, including the biggest onshore oil field in Western Europe, to an Anglo-French firm for 610 million US dollars.

The British supermajor has sold its Wytch Farm terminal, which is set in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty in the Dorset countryside, along with three neighbouring fields to oil and gas company Perenco.

The sale will go towards BP's pledge to fund compensation for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill through 30 billion US dollars (£18.5 billion) worth of asset disposals.

The Wytch Farm oil field, which was bought by BP in 1984, produces 25,000 barrels of oil per day and employs more than 200 staff, who will be transferred to Perenco.

The Wytch Farm oil field is 17 miles from Poole and has recoverable reserves of around 480 million barrels.

The company said the sale of Wytch Farm and the Wareham, Beacon and Kimmeridge fields did not signal a move away from the UK as it will shift focus to the northern North Sea, central North Sea, west of Shetland and Norway.

Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, said:

"The North Sea region is a very important area for BP and we will sustain a significant business here for the long term.

"We are currently investing around 4 billion US dollars per annum of capital and operating expenditure, which includes four major new field development projects in the UK and two in Norway.''

However, the company still plans to sell some North Sea assets, including its Cleeton, West Sole and Amethyst fields and the Dimlington gas terminal in North Humberside.

But as it sells assets across the world, including in Argentina, North America, Egypt, Venezuela, Vietnam and Colombia, BP has made significant moves into emerging markets, including a multi-billion pound tie-up with Indian firm Reliance Industries.

An immediate payment of 500 million US dollars (£307 million) has been made for the Dorset assets, while a further 55 million US dollars (£34 million) will be paid on completion, which is expected at the end of 2011.

The remaining 55 million US dollars is contingent on submission of a development plan for the Beacon field, BP added.

Perenco is an independent oil and gas company with operations in 16 countries.

It is involved in operations both onshore and offshore with production equal to about 250,000 barrel of oil equivalent a day.

In the UK, it operates five gas gathering platforms connected to Bacton on the Norfolk coast.

The group, which is headquartered in London and Paris, was founded by French entrepreneur Hubert Perrodo, who died at the age of 62 in 2006 in a climbing accident in the French Alps.