* ONGC and Oil India likely to team up for joint bid
* Kuwait Petroleum, Mitsui among others eying Murphy's
* Thailand's PTT decides not to bid
(Adds confirmation on ONGC, Oil India joint bid, Oil India
By Denny Thomas and Nidhi Verma
July 17 Top Japanese trading house Mitsubishi
Corp has submitted a non-binding bid to buy Murphy Oil
Corp's Malaysian oil and gas assets valued at about $2.5
billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
India's state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp and Oil
India Ltd are among the other suitors preparing to
submit bids for the Murphy assets, separate sources with direct
knowledge of the process said.
ONGC and Oil India would "most likely" submit a joint bid
for the assets, one of the sources directly involved in the
process said, something they have done in the past for overseas
A final decision on the Indian firms' bid will be made by
the government, another person familiar with the process said.
The Indian companies are likely to submit preliminary bids
for the Murphy stake by the end of this month after getting
mandatory internal approvals, said the sources, who declined to
be identified as the process is not public.
"We want energy security. The focus of energy security
should be to get the resources to India if need be. It should
not be for investment's sake only," a senior Indian government
official told Reuters.
Arkansas-based Murphy, which has interests in oil and gas
fields in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei and Australia,
has invited bids for a 30 percent stake in its Malaysian assets,
Reuters previously reported.
"ONGC's strategy has always been to increase production
overseas and it has largely been because in the domestic market,
they have not had much success," said Prakash Joshi, director of
equity research at IDFC Institutional Equities.
India's state explorers including ONGC, India's largest oil
and gas exploration company, have been hunting overseas as they
struggle to arrest decline from local gas fields and boost the
country's energy security.
In June last year, ONGC together with Oil India acquired a
10-percent stake in a deepwater gas field in Mozambique's Rovuma
basin for $2.48 billion.
In August, ONGC agreed to buy another 10-percent stake in
the field from Anadarko Petroleum for $2.64 billion.
FOLLOWS EXITS BY OTHER U.S. PRODUCERS
Malaysia is the biggest market in Murphy's Asian portfolio,
accounting for more than 45 percent of its total 2012 net
production, according to the company's website.
"These are world class assets producing significant amount
of liquids and it has some upside through gas," one person
familiar with the process said.
"You get access to quality oil production immediately, in
substantial quantity. It has got more than 10 years' of life."
Murphy's net oil and gas production from Malaysia was about
86,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2013, with total
proved reserves of 125 million barrels of oil and 406 billion
cubic feet (11 billion cubic metres) of gas, according to its
Kuwait Petroleum Corp and Japan's Mitsui & Co were
among the other suitors considering a bid.
Thailand's PTT did not take part in the bidding, a
senior company official told Reuters. Kuwait Petroleum did not
reply to an email seeking response, while a Mitsui spokesman
Murphy's planned sale follows similar exits by other
independent U.S. energy producers such as Hess Corp and
Newfield Exploration Co, both of which have offloaded
their Southeast Asian operations.
The move is also prompted in part by the strong demand
generated for the Newfield and Hess auctions last year, the
A Mitsubishi spokeswoman, Oil India Chairman Sunil Kumar
Srivastava and ONGC Videsh, the overseas business arm of ONGC,
all declined to comment. Murphy did not respond to e-mails
(Reporting by Denny Thomas, Nidhi Verma and James Topham;
Additional reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee, Aman Shah, David
French, Rania El Gamal and Khettitya Jittapong; editing by Tom
Hogue and Jason Neely)