* Sale subject to approval of Malaysia's state oil firm Petronas
* To use sale proceeds to pay down debt
* Newfield's shares up 2 pct
Oct 22 (Reuters) - Newfield Exploration Co said it would sell its interests in Malaysia for $898 million as part of its plan to concentrate on its assets in the United States.
The sale of Newfield's equity interests in Newfield Malaysia Holdings to SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd fetched a price that was higher than expected, said analysts at brokerage house Tudor Pickering Holt & Co.
Shares of Newfield Exploration, the fourth-largest oil producer in Malaysia, were up 2 percent at $31.50 in trading before the bell.
Newfield, like Hess Corp and other U.S. companies, is looking to sell aging and less productive oil and gas fields to invest in more profitable assets, particularly at home.
Newfield has warned of a 25-30 percent fall in international production this year partly due to natural declines.
As well as exiting Malaysia, Newfield is also looking to offload its interests in China. These sales could generate proceeds of more than $1.5 billion.
The Woodlands, Texas-based company said it would to pay down debt using the proceeds from the Malaysian asset sale, which is expected to close in early 2014.
The sale agreement is subject to the approval of Malaysia's state oil firm, Petronas, which operates some of the blocks in the Malay Basin in which Newfield holds an interest.