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BP announces more asset sales

BP announced that it has agreed to sell its oil and gas exploration, production and transportation business in Colombia to a consortium of Ecopetrol, Colombia’s national oil company (51 per cent), and Talisman of Canada (49 per cent). The two companies will pay BP a total of $1.9 billion in cash, subject to customary post-completion price adjustments, for 100 per cent of the shares in BP Exploration Company (Colombia) Limited (BPXC), the wholly-owned BP subsidiary company that holds BP’s oil and gas exploration, production and transportation interests in Colombia. Subject to regulatory and other approvals, the sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The sale of the Colombian business is part of BP’s plan, announced on July 27, to divest up to $30 billion of assets over the next 18 months. On July 20 BP announced that it had agreed to sell assets in the USA, Canada, and Egypt to Apache Corporation for a total of $7 billion, and the company has also recently informed governments in Pakistan and Vietnam that it intends to divest its upstream interests in those countries. Tony Hayward, BP group chief executive, said: “I am delighted with the price we have achieved for these assets. BP has been involved in Colombia for more than 20 years and played a major role in finding and developing the country’s major oilfields. These have contributed significantly to BP’s global production over the years. But it now makes sense for the assets to go to owners more willing than BP to invest in their future development.”  Under the terms of the agreement, Ecopetrol and Talisman are due to pay BP a cash deposit of $1.25 billion with the balance of payment due on completion of the sale.
Possible further delays on permanent oil spill fix…   BP said it would delay until today injectivity testing on its blown-out Macondo well in the US Gulf of Mexico due to a small hydraulic leak found in the capping stack hydraulic control system. The test was expected to start Monday, ahead of plans to start a static kill operation on Tuesday. “During final preparations to commence with the injectivity test, a small hydraulic leak was discovered in the capping stack hydraulic control system,” BP said. “The injectivity test, previously announced to take place today, will be rescheduled until the leak is repaired.”  “It is anticipated that the injectivity test and possibly the static kill will take place Tuesday,” the company said. Earlier Monday afternoon, US Incident Commander Thad Allen had said the test could be delayed by a couple of hours due to a leak in the vessel that would be conducting it — the Q4000 — with the test likely occurring Monday evening.  The Q4000 is the Helix multipurpose vessel BP will use for injecting drilling mud into Macondo for the static kill, which is expected to begin after the testing provides more details about the best way to proceed with the operation.  For the static kill operation, drilling mud will be pumped into the top of the well on the sea floor through Macondo’s malfunctioning blowout preventer.  The static kill would be followed by interception of Macondo with a relief well between August 11-15 and the final bottom kill by the end of the month, BP senior vice president Kent Wells said earlier Monday.  Although similar to the ill-fated top kill operation attempted in May, static kill is expected to have a greater chance of success because the well has since been controlled through depletion and the installation of a sealing cap. (Platts)