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BP to reduce stake in oil project off southern Australia

BP has announced plans to divest some of its stake in the company's project in the Great Australian Bight.

As part of the sale process, the company will reduce its stake by up to 50% from the existing 70%.

The companies are planning to invest $800m in exploration activities on the project, scheduled to begin later this year, according to Bloomberg.

Addressing the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) conference in Melbourne, BP Asia Pacific exploration vice-president Bryan Ritchie told reporters that a number of companies are in talks.

"The Great Australian Bight is estimated to hold billions of barrels of oil and gas."

In a bid to save money, the company is also on look out for opportunities to work with other companies that are exploring in Great Australian Bight.

BP's plan to drill in the region is opposed by various environmentalist groups, as they are concerned about the potential for an accident after the blowout happened at the Deepwater Horizon operation in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Ritchie said that the company aims to move forward in Australia and plans to a reduce stake in the venture to help reduce its risk of costly drilling.

In addition, the company plans to launch a 'farm out' process in order to bring in another partner, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The venture is 30% owned by Statoil, which plans to drill four wells 200km off the coast.

The Great Australian Bight is estimated to hold billions of barrels of oil and gas.

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