BP is to pay Devon Energy $7bn for its Brazil, Azerbaijan and US deepwater Gulf of Mexico assets in a bid to enhance its “core strategic areas”.

In a broad-ranging deal, BP will pay Devon Energy in cash for its assets, which include interests in ten exploration blocks in Brazil.

These include seven in the giant Campos basin, a major portfolio of deepwater exploration acreage and prospects in the US Gulf of Mexico, and an interest in the BP-operated Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli development in the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, BP said in a statement today.

In addition, BP will sell to Devon Energy a 50% stake in BP’s Kirby oil sands interests in Alberta, Canada, for $500m.

BP said the parties have agreed to form a 50 / 50 joint venture, operated by Devon, to pursue the development of the interest.

“This strategic opportunity fits well with BP’s operating strengths and key interests around the world, offering us significant additional long-term growth potential with an emphasis on high-margin oil,” said BP group chief executive Tony Hayward.

The company aims to strengthen its position in the Gulf of Mexico, enhance its interests in Azerbaijan while progressing the development of Canadian assets, Hayward added.