OSLO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Aker BP has agreed to buy the Norwegian unit of U.S. oil firm Hess in a $2 billion deal to further expand its portfolio, the companies said on Tuesday.
Aker BP will raise $500 million in new equity to help pay for the deal, in a share issue fully underwritten by its top owners, investment firm Aker ASA and oil major BP .
"Aker BP has a clear ambition to be the leading independent offshore exploration and production (E&P) company. This transaction is an important step in that direction," Chief Executive Karl Johnny Hersvik said in a statement.
Following the deal, Aker BP plans to raise its dividend to $350 million per year from $250 million, with the first increase planned for the fourth-quarter dividend payment of 2017.
The transaction raises Aker BP's stake in Norway's Valhall and Hod fields to 100 percent, it said.
"Aker BP will subsequently seek to sell or swap a minority interest in the fields to partners who want to work together with Aker BP to proactively target the upside potential in the area," it added. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)