MELBOURNE/LONDON (Reuters) by Sonali Paul & Ron Bousso – BP Plc (BP.L) has agreed to buy U.S. shale oil and gas assets from global miner BHP Billiton (BLT.L) (BHP.AX) for $10.5 billion, expanding the British oil major’s footprint in some of the nation’s most productive oil basins in its biggest deal in nearly 20 years. The acquisition of about 500,000 producing acres marks a turning point for BP since the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, for which the company is still paying off more than $65 billion in penalties and clean-up costs. “This is a transformational acquisition for our (onshore U.S.) business, a major step in delivering our upstream strategy and a world-class addition to BP’s distinctive portfolio,” BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said in a statement. In a further sign of the upturn in its fortunes, BP said it would increase its quarterly dividend for the first time in nearly four years and announced a $6 billion share buyback, to be partly funded by selling some upstream assets. BP’s London-listed shares were trading 0.4 percent higher at 1400 GMT, compared with a 0.8 percent gain in the broader European energy index .SXEP. The… continue reading
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