Hess Corp has sold off a domestic downstream asset to a subsidiary of UK gas giant Centrica in a deal worth over $1 billion.

The US independent giant has sold its Energy Marketing business to Direct Energy, a Centrica offshoot, for $1.025 billion, it said on Tuesday.

The sale is part of Hess’ ongoing plans to exit the downstream arena in order to become a pure exploration and production player.

The sale brings to $4.5 billion the value of asset disposals so far this year.

The sold entity supplies natural gas and electricity to 23,000 commercial, industrial and small business customers in the eastern half of the US.

Closing of the deal is expected in the fourth quarter.

New York-based Hess has already sold much of its midstream and downstream portfolio in recent times.

Hess said in March it planned on “fully exiting” downstream, including retail, energy marketing, and energy trading, having said as recently as last month it would retain these functions after exiting refining.

The explorer also said at the time it would “pursue monetisation” of its Bakken midstream assets by 2015, without specifying further regarding the fate of the oil and gas gathering and transportation assets.