Anadarko eyes $1 bln sale of China oil and gas project stakes-sources

Reuters

* CNOOC widely seen as potential buyer

* Anadarko joins Newfield, Hess to sell Asian fields

* Some of the sales driven by shareholder activism

By Denny Thomas

HONG KONG, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp is considering the sale of its holdings in oil and gas projectsin China in a deal that could be valued at about $1 billion,sources familiar with the matter said, as it eyes plouging moneyback into the U.S. market.

Houston-based Anadarko, which owns about a 35 percentinterest in production and development projects in China's BohaiBay, joins a list of U.S. oil companies seeking to raise cash toinvest back home.

CNOOC is seen a potential buyer of Anadarko's interests, oneof the sources told Reuters. CNOOC was not immediately availablefor comment.

Anadarko declined to comment. The sources declined to beidentified as they were not authorised to speak to media.

Last year, Anadarko transferred day-to-day operations of theprojects to its joint venture partner CNOOC Ltd aspart of an earlier agreement.

The company's Chinese fields produced about 32,300 BOPD(barrels of oil per day) in the second quarter and is expectedto average between 32,000 to 35,000 BOPD for the remainder of2013, according to the company's second-quarter productionreport. China has the smallest producing fields among Anadarko'sinternational operations.

At least two other U.S. oil companies, including NewfieldExploration Co Ltd and Hess Corp, have put partof their Asian oil and gas fields on the block this year.

The retreat is not limited to independent oil and gasproducers, as even some of the world's top five integrated oilcompanies are cutting back on expensive projects. Some of thesales are in part driven by activist shareholders, who areagitating for more returns.

ANADARKO EXITS

Anadarko also has a 50 percent interest in the South ChinaSea exploration acreage and it was not clear if the company wasweighing a sale of that asset.

In August, Anadarko sold down a 10 percent interest in a gasfield offshore Mozambique for $2.64 billion. Anadarko will remain the operator of the block, located in Mozambique'sdeepwater Rovuma Basin, with a working interest of 26.5 percent.

In December last year, Anadarko sold its three Indonesiaunits to PT Pertamina, Indonesia' state-controlled oil and gascompany.

Spurred on by historically high oil prices in the past fewyears, integrated oil companies have increased exploration workin areas once deemed too risky. But last week as the top globaloil companies posted third-quarter results, they vowed tocontrol spending and to put cash in the pockets of investorsthrough asset sales, share buybacks or dividends..

The top five have all badly underperformed the global MSCIWorld index this year, which is up 19.5 percentfor the year to date, even with share buybacks already underway.

In October, Newfield sold its Malaysian oil and gas assetsto SapuraKencana Bhd for $898 million. Newfield isexploring the sale of its China assets, while Hess is inadvanced talks to sell its Indonesian and Thailand assets.

Thailand's top oil and gas explorer PTT Exploration andProduction Pcl is eyeing stakes in Hess's Thailand andIndonesian assets.

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