BP Sells Gas Field To SSE

Published in Company Comment on 17 December 2012

BP (LON BP) sells a North Sea gas field to SSE.

The shares of BP (LSE: BP) (NYSE: BP.US) slipped 2p to 424p during trading in London today after the oil major confirmed the sale of its interest in a North Sea gas field to SSE (LSE: SSE).

BP said SSE would pay $288m for the 50% non-operated stake in the Sean field, which produces around a net 18,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete during the first half of 2013.

Trevor Garlick, the regional president of BP North Sea, said:

"The divestment of BP's interest in the non-core, non-operated Sean field is consistent with our strategy of focusing on high value assets with long term growth potential."

Today's announcement is the latest in a long line of disposal statements from BP this year.

In particular, the FTSE 100 (UKX) firm revealed the $27bn sale of its TNK-BP Russian venture during October, while September witnessed the $5.6bn disposal of various oil assets located in the Gulf of Mexico.

Late last month, BP also revealed a $1.1bn sale of a package of North Sea oil and gas assets. However, the group did confirm today that it still plans to invest $10bn during the next five years in various other North Sea projects.

As well as funding the claims relating to the Gulf of Mexico spill, the disposals may have recently helped BP's cash flow and its ability to pay dividends.

Indeed, results in October showed BP raising $5bn from disposals during the first nine months of 2012, and lifting its quarterly payout by 12.5% to 9 US cents per share.

In fact, with the annual dividend now running at the equivalent of 22.5p per share, BP's 5.3% dividend yield marks the share as a FTSE large-cap that offers an income well ahead of what you can expect to receive from a standard savings account.

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> Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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