BP’s Venezuela, Vietnam assets sold to Russian unit


MOSCOW – British oil company BP has agreed to sell its energy assets in Venezuela and Vietnam to its Russian joint venture for $1.8 billion, the companies said in a statement today.

The deal is part of a series of sales BP PLC is making to help pay for the oil spill damages in the Gulf of Mexico. It will be financed entirely by TNK-BP, which is owned 50-50 by BP and a group of Russian tycoons. So despite its ownership, BP will receive the full amount in the sale.

TNK-BP will make a $1 billion deposit by Oct. 29 and pay the remainder when the deal is finalized, likely in the first half of next year.

TNK-BP is Russia’s third-largest oil company and accounts for a quarter of BP’s oil output.

“These are robust businesses which offer both existing production and potential opportunities for future growth. We believe they will offer TNK-BP a solid foundation as it builds its business outside Russia,” BP’s CEO Robert Dudley said regarding the sale of the Vietnamese and Venezuelan assets.

The joint statement released said that the acquisitions of the assets in Venezuela and Vietnam will bring TNK-BP net proved and probable reserves of some 290 million barrels of oil equivalent, or about 260 million barrels of oil equivalent on an entitlement basis.

“The acquisitions in Venezuela and Vietnam mark a milestone in TNK-BP’s strategic expansion in the global energy market,” TNK-BP’s Executive Chairman Mikhail Fridman said in the statement. Given Russia’s strong relationships with Vietnam and Venezuela, we are sure that this transaction will create significant value both for TNK-BP and our local partners.”

In Venezuela, TNK-BP will buy BP’s 16.7 percent equity stake in Venezuela’s PetroMonagas SA extra heavy oil producer, its 40 percent stake in Petroperija SA that operates the DZO field, and a 26.7 percent stake in Boqueron SA. These assets are operated as joint ventures with PVDSA and have a combined capacity of 25 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day.

In Vietnam, it will acquire BP’s 35 percent stake in the upstream offshore gas production Block 061 containing the Lan Tay and Lan Do gas condensate fields, a 32.7 percent stake in the Nam Con Son Pipeline and Terminal, and a 33.3 percent stake in the Phu My 3 power plant. The assets form an integrated gas and power chain with a production capacity of 30 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day on a working interest basis.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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