BP in talks to sell assets

BP shares rise as the company announces it is talking to potential buyers of some of its assets.

Shares of BP rose Monday as the company said it is talking to potential buyers about selling off some company assets.

London's Sunday Times reported earlier that the petroleum giant is talking with Apache Corp. about a sale of $18 billion US worth of assets.

Apache Corp., headquartered in Houston, is reported to be looking at buying $18 billion US in assets from BP. ((Pat Sullivan/Associated Press))

BP shares in New York closed at $36.76, higher by $2.71 or eight per cent on the day — although still down from over $60 before the Deepwater Horizon drill rig blew up on April 20, triggering catastrophic oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Times reported that the talks included the possibility of Houston-based Apache buying BP holdings in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oilfield. 

BP has said it plans to raise $10 billion this year selling assets, and analysts said it is likely simply speeding up its program.

The company agreed last month to set aside some assets as security while it builds up a $20-billion compensation fund it promised the U.S. government to establish to pay for damage from the massive spill.

Apache explores for oil and gas around the world, including in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Its Canadian properties hold 22 per cent of its total reserves.

It also has interests in the Gulf of Mexico, Egypt, western Australia, the North Sea and South America. Apache shares declined about three per cent Monday.

Cleanup cost hits $3.5B US

BP said Monday it has spent $3.5 billion US responding to the growing oil spill, including the costs of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to Gulf states, claims paid and federal costs.

Ken Feinberg, a lawyer appointed to oversee the BP compensation fund, urged people affected by the spill to file claims.

"I work for the people of the Gulf; I don't work for the administration; I don't work for BP," Feinberg said. "I've got to find a way to accelerate claims. I can't help people if they don't file."

BP said almost 105,000 claims had been submitted up to Saturday, and more than 52,000 payments have been made, totalling almost $165 million.

With files from The Associated Press