* The company could just sell 30pct of Malaysian business
* Murphy joins other US companies in scaling back from Asia
* Good demand for Newfield's Southeast Asia sale triggers
By Denny Thomas
HONG KONG, Feb 14 Murphy Oil Corp is
considering selling of some of its Asian oil and gas assets in a
deal that could fetch up to $3 billion, people familiar with the
matter said, as it joins other U.S. energy companies in scaling
back from the region.
Energy majors from BP to Shell have faced
pressure from shareholders to control spending and return spare
cash amid concerns over the impact of rising costs and the
returns available if oil prices drop.
Murphy's planned sale comes after Newfield Exploration Co
and Hess Corp sold their Southeast Asia
operations, partly to address share price underperformance.
Murphy's move to shed its Asian assets was prompted in part
by the strong demand generated from the Newfield and Hess
auctions last year, the people told Reuters.
They said, however, that the process was still in its early
stages and that Murphy could in the end decide not to sell.
Murphy, which has a $10.7 billion market value, is working
with a U.S.-based consultant which has reached out to some
potential Asian energy companies and sovereign wealth funds in
the Middle East, the people added.
Murphy has interests in oil and gas fields in Malaysia,
Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei and Australia. Malaysia is the
biggest of Murphy's Asian portfolios, and accounted for more
than 45 percent of its total 2012 net production, according to
the company's website.
One of the deal structures being discussed include selling
just 30 percent of the Malaysian operations, one of the people
A Murphy spokesman did not immediately reply to an email and
a call to his office seeking comment.