British oil major BP said it agreed to sell its minority stakes in two North Sea fields to Japanese trading company Mitsui (8031.T) for $280 million, as part of a plan to focus its portfolio in the region on larger scale projects.

BP, Europe’s second largest oil firm by market value, said on Tuesday that Mitsui would buy a 13.3 percent stake in the Alba field and an 8.97 percent stake in the Britannia field in a cash deal.

“The divestments are part of our strategy to develop a more focused business in the UK and Norway,” Trevor Garlick, BP regional president for the North Sea, said in a statement.

BP, which also sold $400 million of gas fields in the North Sea earlier this year, is selling smaller assets to concentrate on six major projects in the Norwegian and British sections of the North Sea.

The deal is part of BP’s $38 billion asset disposal program which is raising funds to help pay for the ongoing cost of cleaning up the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company also sold $1 billion worth of U.S. gas assets to Linn Energy on Monday, and in what would amount to a much larger deal worth an estimated $25 billion, it also said earlier in June it could sell its stake in its Russian oil joint venture TNK-BP TNPB.MM.

Shares in BP were 1.1 percent higher at 406.7 pence at 0853 GMT, outperforming Britain’s bluechip index .FTSE which was flat.

Source: Reuters