Oil and gas company Hess Corporation has signed an agreement to sell its 28% working interest (WI) in the Shenzi field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico for a total consideration of $505m.

Hess said it is selling its stake to BHP Billiton, the operator of the field.

Currently, Shenzi field is structured as joint ownership between BHP (44%), Hess (28%), and Repsol (28%).

Hess CEO John Hess said: “Proceeds will be used to fund our world-class investment opportunity in Guyana.

“This sale is aligned with our strategy to preserve cash and preserve the long-term value of our assets in the current low oil price environment.”

BHP said that the acquisition would bring its total working interest in the field to 72%.

Upon completion, it will immediately add approximately 11,000 boepd of production.

BHP Petroleum Operations president Geraldine Slattery said: “This transaction aligns with our plans to enhance our petroleum portfolio by targeted acquisitions in high-quality producing deepwater assets and the continued de-risking of our growth options.

“We are purchasing the stake in Shenzi at an attractive price, it’s a tier-one asset with optionality and the key to BHP’s Gulf of Mexico heartland. As the operator, we have more opportunity to grow Shenzi high-margin barrels and value with an increased working interest.”

Expected to be closed by the end of this year, the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Earlier this month, ExxonMobil and Hess made a final investment decision (FID) to move ahead with the $9bn Payara development project, offshore Guyana, following the Guyanese Government’s approval. First oil from the Payara development project is targeted for 2024.