UPDATE 1-ConocoPhillips opts out of exploration in two Peru blocks
* Opts out of exploration in two Peru blocks * Conoco's 45 pct stake to go to Gran Tierra Energy Peru SRL * Decision part of strategic plan to optimize asset portfolio Oct 5 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips has decided not to further explore two blocks in Peru as part of the U.S. oil company's strategic plan to reduce non-core overseas assets. ConocoPhillips' 45 percent interest in Blocks 123 and 129, in the Maranon Basin, will be transferred to Gran Tierra Energy Peru SRL, along with the operation of the blocks subject to government approvals, the company said on Friday. "After careful consideration, we reached this decision as part of the company's broader strategic effort to re-evaluate our investments and asset portfolio since becoming an independent E&P company," said Larry Archibald, senior vice president of exploration. "It was a difficult decision to leave these blocks where we have worked so closely with communities and demonstrated our ability to work responsibly in an environmentally sensitive area," he said. Houston-based ConocoPhillips, which recently completed two rounds of seismic exploration activities in Blocks 123 and 129, is currently engaged in a program to reduce non-core overseas assets. It has already exceeded its target of asset sales worth $20 billion by the end of 2012. ConocoPhillips' stock rose 30 cents to $57.70 in Friday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.