For sale: Gulf of Mexico oil fields.

Asking price: $5.6 billion.

Seller: British Petroleum.

Reason for selling: Need to raise money to pay huge fines levied after poking a hole in a Gulf of Mexico oil field and not closing it up for a few months.

Sorry, gang. This one is not for sale.

From the Guardian:

The British oil giant is selling its interests in older smaller fields in the gulf to Plains Exploration & Production of Houston. BP will remain a major operator in the area. …

On completion of the transaction, BP will continue to operate four large production platforms in the region — Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika — and hold interests in three non-operated hubs — Mars, Ursa and Great White.

Analysts calculate that BP faces a fine of up to $20bn under the Clean Water Act for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The blowout killed 11 workers and pumped about 4.9m barrels of oil into the Gulf.

Transocean, the company that owned Deepwater Horizon, said Monday that it was in discussions with the Justice Department to pay $1.5bn to resolve civil and criminal claims related to the US’s worst offshore oil spill.

The deal was closed yesterday.

Last April, Plains Exploration was faulted for an on-land spill in California, albeit of a modest 40 gallons. In 2010, the company was fined $900,000 in a civil action for failing to provide proper production reports for a subsidiary.

Sounds like our coastal waters are once again in safe hands.