BP has agreed to sell its interests in its southern gas assets (SGA) in the UK North Sea to Perenco UK Ltd for $400 million in cash.

BP says it expects to divest assets with a total value of $38 billion between 2010 and the end of 2013 as it continues the active management of its business portfolios around the world. Including the agreement to sell SGA, the company has now announced divestments with an expected value totaling approximately $23 billion.

Perenco has made an initial payment to BP of $100 million in cash and the remaining $300 million will be paid on completion, which is expected before the end of 2012. A further $10 million may be paid in the future contingent on the prevailing gas prices, BP says. Completion of the sale is subject to a number of third-party and regulatory approvals. BP says it is expected that impacted BP employees working for SGA will transfer with the asset to Perenco.

According to a BP announcement, the divestment of SGA is part of BP”s strategy to develop a more focused North Sea business in the UK and Norway. BP has a multibillion-pound investment program currently underway, with four major field development projects in the UK and two more in Norway.

””Together with our partners, BP is currently progressing projects in the UK offshore that will involve a total investment of £10 billion over the next five years – representing the highest level of annual investment BP has ever made into the UK”s offshore industry,” said Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, in a prepared statement.

BP initially announced its intention to sell SGA in February 2011. Current net BP production from the SGA assets totals some 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boed).