BP Re-Thinks Algeria Asset Sales

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BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, is reconsidering the sale of its Algeria assets the OPEC member's energy minister said in an interview with Dow Jones. The move by BP could serve to put more stress on the British oil giant's relationship with TNK-BP, the company that wanted to acquire the assets.

TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil producer, is BP's joint Russian venture with oligarch investors. BP's (BP) relationship with TNK-BP became strained when BP announced a $16 billion share swap with OAO Rosneft, Russia's largest oil producer, in January.

Algeria's Energy minister Youcef Yousfi told Dow Jones that ''BP doesn't want to go. BP has decided to cancel its plan to sell'' its assets in Nigeria. BP never publicly confirmed plans to sell its assets in the North African country. Market observers have speculated that Algeria could be one of the next dominoes to fall in the Middle East/North Africa region following the civil strife that has rocked Libya in recent weeks.

BP, along with several other Western oil majors, has suspended operations in Libya. BP has stakes in two major Algerian natural gas projects along with an interest in the Rhourde El Baguel oil project, and is exploring for oil in the Bourarhet block next to In Amenas, Dow Jones reported.