By Dallas Business Journal

BP could get bought by ExxonMobil Corp., according to reports out of the United Kingdon.

At the same time, BP is in talks to sell about $12 billion worth of its assets to Houstonâ¿¿s Apache Corp., according to reports out of the United Kingdom.

A report in Londonâ¿¿s Sunday Times says Irving-based ExxonMobil is already seeking government approval to make an offer for BP.

BP plc (NYSE: BP) declined to comment on the report. ExxonMobil didnâ¿¿t immediately respond to request for comment.

An unnamed source told the Sunday Times that Apache is thinking of buying some of BPâ¿¿s assets, including its stake in Alaskaâ¿¿s Prudhoe Bay oil field.

Apache (NYSE: APA) is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina.

Other reports have said that BP might sell its share in Argentina Pan American Energy to its venture partner China National Offshore Oil Corp.

BP continues to work to stop the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico with two relief wells. Last week, the company moved its relief well intercept date up a bit, saying it might pierce the shaft of the crippled well by the end of the month.

As of July 5, BP said it had spent about $3.12 billion on cleaning up the Gulf oil spill. It is asking its well partners, including Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) and Japanâ¿¿s Mitsui & Co., to help pay for the efforts. For its part, The Woodlands-based Anadarko is refusing to pitch in, blaming the tragedy squarely on BP.

BP has also said that it plans to sell assets in order to cover the spillâ¿¿s cleanup costs.

Exxon closed its acquisition of Fort Worth-based XTO Energy on June 25. That deal wouldn't stop Exxon from buying BP, or a scaled-down BP, at least on the financial front, said Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist Universityâ¿¿s Cox School of Business.

⿿They probably have the cash,⿝ he said. ⿿Do they have the organization or administrative capacity to do that? I don⿿t know.⿝

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010