Shares in oil major BP opened over 4 percent higher on Tuesday after a newspaper reported rival Royal Dutch Shell Plc had considered a takeover bid in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Daily Mail, citing sources close to the Anglo-Dutch group, reported Shell weighed an opportunistic bid for BP as crude gushed into the Gulf, but was discouraged by the potentially uncapped legal liabilities.

BP shares traded up 4.1 percent at 0809 GMT (3:09 a.m ET), while shares in Hague-based Shell traded up 1.6 percent, against a 1.3 percent rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index <.SXEP>.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by David Holmes)