London-based BP PLC is considering the sale of its 28% stake in the Shearwater assets near the North Sea to focus on other projects in the region and expand its presence in U.S. shale, Bloomberg reported Jan. 7.
A sale of its interest in the Royal Dutch Shell PLC-operated Shearwater platform could fetch BP several million dollars, Bloomberg said, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the matter.
At the end of 2018, BP executives said the company would divest $5 billion to $6 billion in holdings to help finance its $10.5 billion acquisition of U.S. oil and gas assets from BHP Billiton Group in October 2018.
BP launched the sale of $3 billion of legacy U.S. assets to help pay for the BHP assets, Reuters said Dec. 19. BP put up for sale the blocks it held before it closed the BHP deal, which includes sites in the Wamsutter basin in Wyoming, the Arkoma and Anadarko basins in Oklahoma, and the San Juan Basin at the Colorado-New Mexico border.
Many of the oil majors have worked to divest aging North Sea assets over the last few years while focusing on other, more cost-effective production areas. In early December 2018, BP itself sold a 75% stake in the Magnus oil field to EnQuest PLC.
Despite its recent asset divestitures in the North Sea, the region remains an important investment area for BP.
"In the past two years, we started up two new major multi-billion pound developments (Quad 204 in 2017 and Clair Ridge in 2018), and late last year, we significantly increased our interest in the major Clair field," BP spokesperson David Nicholas said in a Jan. 7 email.
In an asset swap deal with ConocoPhillips in December 2018, BP obtained an additional 16.5% stake in the Clair Ridge project from the U.S. producer in exchange for some of BP's Alaskan assets. BP already owned a 28% stake in Clair.
Additionally, in late 2018, BP got approval from the U.K.'s Oil and Gas Authority to proceed with the Vorlich development and the Alligin oil and gas development west of the Shetland Islands.