* BP to focus on growing deepwater gas business
* GUPCO business said to be worth over $500 mln
By Ron Bousso
LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - BP is seeking buyers for its stake in a 50-year-old oil and gas business in Egypt as it focuses on newer deepwater gas fields off the country’s Mediterranean coast, banking sources said.
The London-based company has in recent weeks pitched to potential buyers its stake in Gulf of Suez Oil Company (GUPCO), a joint venture with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) that was set up in the 1960s.
A spokeswoman for BP declined to comment.
GUPCO produces over 70,000 barrels per day of oil and 400 million cubic feet per day of gas, the sources said.
The business was estimated to be worth around $500 million, the three banking sources said. BP was managing the sales process, they added.
“We have successfully managed to maintain oil production flat in the Gulf of Suez and our goal is to grow and sustain production levels for the years ahead,” BP’s website says.
Egypt has become a key hub for BP in recent years as it ramped up gas production in the eastern Mediterranean from fields such as the West Nile Delta development and its stake in the Eni-operated giant Zohar field.
BP currently produces almost 15 percent of Egypt’s entire oil output and close to 30 percent of its gas production with its partners, according to its website.
Editing by David Evans