* CNOOC widely seen as potential buyer
* Anadarko joins Newfield, Hess to sell Asian fields
* Some of the sales driven by shareholder activism
By Denny Thomas
HONG KONG, Nov 4 Anadarko Petroleum Corp
is considering the sale of its holdings in oil and gas projects
in China in a deal that could be valued at about $1 billion,
sources familiar with the matter said, as it eyes plouging money
back into the U.S. market.
Houston-based Anadarko, which owns about a 35 percent
interest in production and development projects in China's Bohai
Bay, joins a list of U.S. oil companies seeking to raise cash to
invest back home.
CNOOC is seen a potential buyer of Anadarko's interests, one
of the sources told Reuters. CNOOC was not immediately available
Anadarko declined to comment. The sources declined to be
identified as they were not authorised to speak to media.
Last year, Anadarko transferred day-to-day operations of the
projects to its joint venture partner CNOOC Ltd as
part of an earlier agreement.
The company's Chinese fields produced about 32,300 BOPD
(barrels of oil per day) in the second quarter and is expected
to average between 32,000 to 35,000 BOPD for the remainder of
2013, according to the company's second-quarter production
report. China has the smallest producing fields among Anadarko's
At least two other U.S. oil companies, including Newfield
Exploration Co Ltd and Hess Corp, have put part
of their Asian oil and gas fields on the block this year.
The retreat is not limited to independent oil and gas
producers, as even some of the world's top five integrated oil
companies are cutting back on expensive projects. Some of the
sales are in part driven by activist shareholders, who are
agitating for more returns.
Anadarko also has a 50 percent interest in the South China
Sea exploration acreage and it was not clear if the company was
weighing a sale of that asset.
In August, Anadarko sold down a 10 percent interest in a gas
field offshore Mozambique for $2.64 billion. Anadarko will
remain the operator of the block, located in Mozambique's
deepwater Rovuma Basin, with a working interest of 26.5 percent.
In December last year, Anadarko sold its three Indonesia
units to PT Pertamina, Indonesia' state-controlled oil and gas
Spurred on by historically high oil prices in the past few
years, integrated oil companies have increased exploration work
in areas once deemed too risky. But last week as the top global
oil companies posted third-quarter results, they vowed to
control spending and to put cash in the pockets of investors
through asset sales, share buybacks or dividends.
The top five have all badly underperformed the global MSCI
World index this year, which is up 19.5 percent
for the year to date, even with share buybacks already under
In October, Newfield sold its Malaysian oil and gas assets
to SapuraKencana Bhd for $898 million. Newfield is
exploring the sale of its China assets, while Hess is in
advanced talks to sell its Indonesian and Thailand assets.
Thailand's top oil and gas explorer PTT Exploration and
Production Pcl is eyeing stakes in Hess's Thailand and