British oil company BP has agreed to sell its interests in the Wytch Farm, Wareham, Beacon and Kimmeridge oil and gas fields to Perenco UK for up to $610m.

The move is part of the company’s plan to divest up to $30bn of assets by the end of this year to focus more on the North Sea and to fund compensation for last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP said that an immediate payment of $500m has been made and a further $55m will be paid on completion of the sale with the remaining $55m contingent on submission of the Beacon field development plan and on oil prices between 2011 and 2013.

Completion of the sale, which is subject to partner pre-emption rights and third party and regulatory approvals, is expected at the end of this year.

BP North Sea regional president Trevor Garlick said that the North Sea region is a very important area for the company and it will sustain a significant business here for the long term.

"We are currently investing around $4bn per annum of capital and operating expenditure, which includes four major new field development projects in the UK and two in Norway," Garlick said.

BP holds a 67.81% operated interest in the Wytch Farm field, a 100% operated interest in the Kimmeridge field and a 67.5% operated interest each in the Wareham and Beacon fields.