Exxon, Talisman Said to Seek Hess, Newfield Asian Assets

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are among bidders for Asian oil and natural gas fields that may fetch about $3 billion for Hess Corp. and Newfield Exploration Co., said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Talisman Energy Inc. has also made an offer for the assets, which Hess and Newfield are selling separately, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The fields may generate about $1.5 billion for each seller, the people said.

Hess, based in New York, is selling its share of gas fields in Indonesia and Thailand, while The Woodlands, Texas-based Newfield is selling stakes in offshore oil and natural gas projects in Malaysia and China. Each hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to manage the process, and plans to short-list potential buyers next month, said one of the people.

The sale of the China project may be delayed by recent damage to a production platform, Newfield said in a filing on Aug. 14. The Malaysia sale is “on-track and is expected to close in late 2013 or early 2014,” the company said.

Hess announced asset sales this year that will yield $3.5 billion as it exits refining and divests gasoline stations and other units to focus on oil exploration and production. In May, the company ended a four-month proxy battle with billionaire shareholder Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. after agreeing to add board members nominated by Singer.

First Refusal

Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Pcl has the right to match bids for Hess’s Thai gas fields while Petroliam Nasional Bhd. has similar rights for Newfield’s Malaysian assets, the people said.

PTT will join bids to buy assets owned by Hess in Thailand and Indonesia over the next two months, Asdakorn Limpiti, the company’s executive vice president, told reporters yesterday in Bangkok without elaborating.

Officials at Shell, Exxon, Talisman and Petronas declined to comment on their interest in the fields. The bids for Newfield’s assets was reported earlier by Reuters.

Hess holds 35 percent of Thailand’s Sinphuhorm field, which is also part owned by PTT Exploration, Exxon and Apico LLC, according to its website. In Indonesia, it owns 75 percent of the Pangkah field off the northeast coast of Java, as well as the Semai V Block in the waters off West Papua.

Hess has nothing to announce about the pending sales in Thailand and Indonesia, Jon Pepper, a company spokesman, said in an Aug. 13 telephone interview.

“The sale process is ongoing,” said Keith Schmidt, a spokesman for Newfield, which said in February that it would evaluate strategic alternatives for its international assets. Schmidt declined to comment on potential bids or the value of the assets.

Revenue from Malaysia accounted for 39 percent of Newfield’s $2.6 billion in annual sales last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. China accounted for another 3.4 percent, the data show.

“We’ve seen strong interest in the assets,” Newfield’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lee Boothby said on a July 25 conference call with analysts and investors. “Sales of our international businesses will be a transformational step to becoming a North American-focused resource company.”

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