BP sells North Sea gas interests

Petroleum giant BP is selling its interests in 14 natural gas fields in the North Sea as part of its global shift away from older and less profitable energy ventures, the company said Thursday.

Perenco UK has agreed to pay $US162 million for the fields together with associated pipelines, processing facilities and a terminal at Bacton in eastern England.

BP's share of production at the fields equals around 150 million cubic feet per day, or the equivalent of 26,000 barrels of oil daily.

BP announced this week that it will concentrate its exploration and development in six regions of the world that it believes offer the highest potential returns. BP will focus instead on Russia, Trinidad, Angola, Azerbaijan, the deep-water portion of the Gulf of Mexico, and liquefied natural gas in the Asia-Pacific region.

The sale marks Perenco's first foray into the North Sea. The firm has operated mostly in Africa, Latin America and the United States, and its combined production is around 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.