Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BP Swoops for (More) Global Assets

Oil major BP has swooped for assets in Brazil, Azerbaijan and U.S. deepwater Gulf of Mexico from Devon Energy for a price tag of $7 billion as well as giving the latter a 50% stake in its Kirby oil sands holdings in Alberta, Canada, for $500 million.

The 50/50 Canadian joint venture, slated to be operated by Devon, will pursue development of the interest. Devon Energy has also committed to fund an additional $150 million in capital costs on BP’s behalf.

Going into further details, BP said the acquired assets include ten exploration blocks in Brazil, seven of which are in the Campos basin, prospects in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and an interest in the BP-operated Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) development in the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan.

Apart from diversifying in general, the move was as much about strengthening the British oil major’s foothold in the Gulf of Mexico where it has been a key player for decades. BP will now gain a high quality portfolio in the Gulf with interests in some 240 leases, with a particular focus on the emerging Paleogene play in the ultra-deepwater.

The addition of Devon Energy’s 30% interest in the major Paleogene discovery Kaskida will give BP a 100% interest in the project. The assets also include interests in four producing oil fields: Zia, Magnolia, Merganser, and Nansen. Market commentators have already given the deal a thumbs-up.

Furthermore, Andy Inglis, BP's chief executive of Exploration and Production, told the media that BP’s entry into Brazil will add a major position in another attractive deepwater basin. "Together with the additional new access in the Gulf of Mexico, it further underlines our global position as the leading deepwater international oil company," he added.

BP also hopes to count on Devon Energy's first-hand experience in Canada. "Devon is an experienced operator in the Canadian oil sands with a proven track record of in situ development and production. We expect this transaction will accelerate the development of the Kirby assets and, through the associated crude off-take agreement, provide a secure source of Canadian heavy oil for our advantaged Whiting refinery," Inglis noted.

© Gaurav Sharma 2010. Logo Courtesy © BP Plc

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