BP sells Pan American Energy stake for $7bn

image captionBP is raising cash to pay the costs of the Deepwater Horizon explosion

BP has said it will sell its interests in an Argentina-based company as part of its moves to pay for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

By offloading its 60% stake in Pan American Energy to Bridas Corporation, BP will raise $7bn (£4.5m;5.3bn euros).

The oil giant has now sold $20bn of assets since announcing in July its plan to divest itself of up to $30bn by the end of 2011.

It has already secured the sale of assets in Venezuela, Egypt and Vietnam.

BP group chief executive Bob Dudley said: "Today's agreement further demonstrates both the high quality and attractiveness of the assets throughout BP's portfolio, and also the company's ability to meet our significant financial commitments arising from the Gulf of Mexico tragedy."

BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April, killing 11 workers, and ultimately leaking an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

The well was permanently sealed on 19 September.

BP ultimately expects the cost of the oil spill to be around $40bn.

Biggest deal so far

The deal to sell Pan American Energy (PAE) is the biggest of BP's asset sales so far, just beating the $7bn raised from selling fields in the US and Egypt to Apache.

PAE is involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas and has interests in the Southern Cone region of South America, mainly in Argentina.

BP's stake is being bought by Bridas Corporation, its partner in the operations.

Bridas is half-owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

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