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BP ups stake in major UK North Sea oil field after asset swap with ConocoPhilips

BP has swapped its stake in an Alaskan oil project for a stake in the Clair Field – a major oil field just off the west coast of the Shetland Islands

north sea oil field
A second phase called Clair Ridge is expected to start production later this year

Oil supermajor BP PLC (LON:BP.) and American energy giant ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) on Wednesday announced a swap of assets in the North Sea and Alaska.

BP has raised its stake in the Clair Field to 45.1% from 28.6%, while ConocoPhillips has bought BP’s 39.2% stake in Kuparuk on the North Slope of Alaska.

READ: Plugged in: BP to buy the UK's largest electric vehicle charging company, Chargemaster

Clair is a major North Sea development off the west coast of the Shetland Islands which has been in production since 2005.

BP, along with its partners Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB) (28%), Chevron (19.4%) and Conoco (7.5%), want to increase production to 200,000 barrels of oil per day by 2020.

A second phase, called the Clair Ridge, is expected to come on stream later this year, producing another 120,000 or so bopd.

“This is a further step in focusing our portfolio around core assets and developments which have the potential for significant growth,” said BP Upstream chief executive Bernard Looney.

“Clair is a key advantaged oilfield for our North Sea business, a giant resource whose second phase is about to begin production and which holds great potential for future developments.”

Alaska footprint boost

For ConocoPhillips, the deal is the second transaction this year that boosts its footprint in Alaska. Last month, the company closed on a US$400mln deal for Anadarko Petroleum's 22% lease interests in a field on the Western North Slope in the state. This deal will give the firm more than 90% control of the Greater Kuparuk Area.

In a statement, Ryan Lance, chairman and chief executive officer of the US oil firm commented: "These transactions are significant for ConocoPhillips because they continue our strategy of coring up our legacy asset base in Alaska”.

In pre-market New York trading on Thursday - with US markets shut on Wednesday for the independence Day holiday - ConocoPhillips shares were 0.6% higher at US$70.

Around midday in London, BP shares were 1.35 higher at 587.7p. having fallen on Wednesday. 

 -- Updates with share price; ConocoPhilips comment --

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