Dorset

BP sells stake in Poole Harbour oilfield to Perenco

BP has sold its 68% stake in western Europe's biggest onshore oilfield - in Poole Harbour, Dorset - to Anglo-French firm Perenco for £375m ($610m).

Funds from the sale of Wytch Farm will go towards BP's compensation for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in April 2010.

Wytch Farm was discovered in the Wessex Basin in 1973 and sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. BP bought the site in 1984.

The field produces 25,000 barrels a day and employs more than 200 staff.

The workers will be transferred to oil and gas firm Perenco.

BP has also sold its stakes in the nearby Kimmeridge and Wareham oilfields, as well as its "undeveloped" Beacon site, all around Poole Harbour.

The company has pledged to fund compensation for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill through £18.5bn (US $30bn) of asset disposals.

A BP spokesman said the sales would allow "better use of money in the UK" to achieve that target.

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