British oil major BP is seeking buyers for its 50 per cent stake in Chinese petrochemicals joint venture SECCO, its largest investment in China, in a deal which could fetch $2-$3-billion.
State-owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec), which owns the other half of the venture and has a right of first refusal, said it was discussing the conditions put forward by BP, but has made no decision.
Situated in Caojing near Shanghai, SECCO is China’s largest petrochemicals refinery and was built at a cost of $2.7-billion, according to BP’s website. SECCO, formed in 2001, produces ethylene and propylene, which are used to make resins, plastics and synthetic rubbers.
BP, like other global oil and gas companies, has been sharpening its focus on costs and core businesses as it reels from lower oil prices. U.S. rival Chevron and Britain’s BG Group have also recently sold stakes in Asian ventures as they return their focus to their core home markets.
BP has sold more than $50-billion of assets since the deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill in order to pay for clean-up costs and legal bills. This year, it plans to offload between $3-billion and $5-billion worth of assets, of which $1.9-billion has been agreed, it said when releasing second-quarter earnings last month.