8 Sep 2010 17:43

BP not planning to increase asset sales to $40 bln

MOSCOW. Sept 8 (Interfax) - British Petroleum is not planning to increase the volume of assets it sells to cover expenses associated with the Gulf of Mexico deep-water well disaster from $30 billion to $40 billion, BP's head of operations in Russia Jeremy Huck told Interfax.

"We have announced nothing about any increases, the plans remain as before - $30 billion," Huck said.

The initial phase of BP's asset-sales plans is underway, he said. This will take one and a half to two years, "while there are good offers", he said.

The Sunday Times recently reported that BP had increased the asset-sale target figure to $40 billion. The paper reported BP has put on the auction block its stake in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay deposits worth $20 billion. The company is also selling some of its assets, including oil quadrants in the North Sea to Russia's TNK-BP for $5-$10 billion and will be setting up a series of smaller deals, the paper said.

Huck declined to identify possible buyers, but did say that if TNK-BP is interested in buying, BP will not object. "If TNK-BP is able to sensibly enter the international market and become owner of one of these assets, BP is not opposed," he told reporters on Wednesday.

If any Russian companies, be they Lukoil , Rosneft , Gazprom , or Gazprom Neft , want to get into BP projects, the company would only welcome it, Huck said.