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BP less likely to be acquired after US$18.7b settlement: CEO

[LONDON] BP is less likely to be acquired following its US$18.7 billion settlement over the 2010 Macondo oil spill, Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said on Tuesday.

The has been much speculation in recent months that the British oil and gas giant could become an acquisition target for a larger rival, leading the British government to warn it would oppose any takeover bid.

While some analysts expected BP to be even more attractive following its settlement with the US authorities this month to resolve most claims from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Dudley sought to quell any speculation.

"As a result of the settlement in the US it is actually less likely that someone would want to acquire BP and it is certainly not our intention to put the company up for sale,"Dudley told reporters.

Merger and acquisition activity in the energy sector has been rekindled as company valuations slumped along with oil prices, highlighted by Royal Dutch Shell's US$70 billion bid to acquire BG Group earlier this year.

BP shares are still some 35 percent below their value before the 2010 Macondo rig explosion and spill that killed 11 workers. The company's second-quarter profit slumped by nearly two thirds from a year ago as it took a huge US$10.8 billion charge related to the settlement.