• U.S. energy company may get $1 billion for 25 percent stake
  • Sale is part of CEO's plan to unload $15 billion in assets

Chevron Corp. is seeking buyers for its stake in an Indonesian oil and natural gas field that may fetch about $1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Chevron, which shares ownership of the field with partners including its smaller U.S. peer ConocoPhillips, wants to divest its 25 percent interest in South Natuna Sea Block B, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. ConocoPhillips, which has a 40 percent stake and is the field’s operator, has already initiated a process to sell its holding, Indonesia’s upstream energy regulator said last month.

The biggest oil companies, including Chevron, have had to cut staff, halt share buybacks and reduce exploration budgets to cope with a more than 40 percent slump in crude prices in the last year. Chevron Chief Executive Officer John Watson is working to unload $15 billion in less lucrative assets to counter profit declines. The company is the largest crude oil producer in Indonesia, according to its website.

A spokesman for Chevron declined to comment. Representatives for ConocoPhillips didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours. Elan Biantoro, a spokesman for the Indonesian regulator, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

San Ramon, California-based Chevron is handling the sale without using external advisers, one of the people said. Inpex Corp., Japan’s biggest energy explorer, owns the remaining 35 percent in the South Natuna Block.

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