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Unnamed Saudi investors seek to buy a stake worth 10 to 15 per cent in British oil company BP dealing with a massive US oil spill, a Saudi newspaper said in an unsourced report on Wednesday.

A delegation of Saudi investors will be heading to London for direct talks with BP, said al-Eqtisadiyah, the main buiness daily in the top oil exporter.

It did not reveal its sources or names of the investors, saying only some of the delegation members were from the energy industry.

The report came as BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward was due to meet investors and UAE oil industry officials in Abu Dhabi.

On Tuesday, a senior source in the United Arab Emirates told Reuters that BP had approached sovereign wealth funds with a view to securing a strategic investor to fend off takeover bids while it deals with the US oil spill.

BP shares have lost more than half their market value since the spill in the Gulf of Mexico was unleashed on April 20, the result of an explosion on a drilling rig that caused the undersea well to rupture.

BP has said it hopes to raise $10 billion from asset sales this year as part of its plan to fund a $20 billion clean-up fund set up under pressure from US authorities.

 

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