BP in talks to sell Alaska oil field: report

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BP is in talks to sell up to 12 billion dollars (9.5 billion euros) of assets, including a substantial stake in a giant Alaskan oil field, to Apache Corporation, the Sunday Times reported.

Apache approached the beleaguered British oil company several weeks ago with the plan which would include a stake in Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in North America, the newspaper said.

BP has been trying to offload assets as it seeks to build up a disaster fund of 20 billion dollars to cover the clean-up costs for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Apache, a company worth 29 billion dollars, has done smaller deals with its British rival in the past but acquiring a stake in Prudhoe Bay would be a major coup.

The field produces 390,000 barrels a day, equivalent to 15 percent of Britain's output from its North Sea fields.

The Sunday Times also reported that BP wants to sell its 60-percent share in the Pan American Energy, an Argentinian oil producer.

Chinese oil group CNOOC and Bridas, a rival Argentinian firm, are considering paying part or all of BP's 60-percent holding, the newspaper said.

The report also said Exxon, the world's largest oil company, has been given the green light by the US government to "take a look" at BP with a view to launching a bid for the under-fire company while its share price is depressed.

But sources told the paper it was far from certain that Exxon would make a move.

© 2010 AFP

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