Newfield Exploration to exit Malaysia in $898 mln deal


* Sale subject to approval of Malaysia's state oil firmPetronas

* To use sale proceeds to pay down debt

* Newfield's shares up 2 pct

Oct 22 (Reuters) - Newfield Exploration Co said itwould sell its interests in Malaysia for $898 million as part ofits plan to concentrate on its assets in the United States.

The sale of Newfield's equity interests in Newfield MalaysiaHoldings to SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd fetched a price that washigher than expected, said analysts at brokerage house TudorPickering Holt & Co.

Shares of Newfield Exploration, the fourth-largest oilproducer in Malaysia, were up 2 percent at $31.50 in tradingbefore the bell.

Newfield, like Hess Corp and other U.S. companies,is looking to sell aging and less productive oil and gas fieldsto invest in more profitable assets, particularly at home.

Newfield has warned of a 25-30 percent fall in internationalproduction this year partly due to natural declines.

As well as exiting Malaysia, Newfield is also looking tooffload its interests in China. These sales could generateproceeds of more than $1.5 billion.

The Woodlands, Texas-based company said it would to pay downdebt using the proceeds from the Malaysian asset sale, which isexpected to close in early 2014.

The sale agreement is subject to the approval of Malaysia'sstate oil firm, Petronas, which operates some of theblocks in the Malay Basin in which Newfield holds an interest.

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