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BP Sells Norwegian Stake to Shell

BP  (LSE: BP.L  ) (NYSE: BP  ) was unchanged at 441 pence during afternoon trade today as the oil group announced the sale of a stake in a Norwegian oil field to Royal Dutch Shell  (LSE: RDSB.L  ) (NYSE: RDS-B  ) .

BP said it is to sell its 18% non-operated interest in the Draugen field in the Norwegian Sea for $240 million. BP would continue to operate its other 11 licenses in Norway, of which four are currently in production.

Remarking on the transaction, Rebecca Wiles, managing director of BP Norway, said: "BP is a significant investor in Norway and is in the final stages of completing two major projects, the Skarv field and the redevelopment of the Valhall field, which will greatly increase our production from the country."

BP claimed that the start-up of Skarv and the redevelopment of Valhall were expected to more than double the group's Norwegian production to beyond 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Net BP production from Draugen, which is operated by Shell, averages some 6,000 barrels per day. Completion of the Draugen deal is anticipated by the end of 2012.

Today's news comes a few days after BP announced the $5.55 billion sale of various fields in the Gulf of Mexico to Plains Exploration & Production  (NYSE: PXP  )

Indeed, results last month showed BP raising $1.9 billion from disposals during the second quarter, and $3.2 billion during the first half. Since the start of 2010, BP has announced disposals of $33 billion and is aiming to raise $38 billion by the end of 2013. BP's latest balance sheet carried assets-held-for-resale of $9 billion.

All the disposals should help BP's cash flow and its ability to pay dividends, which currently run at 8 cents per share per quarter, or about 20 pence per share per annum.

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Maynard Payton does not own any share mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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