Indonesia's Medco close to buying Conoco's stake in Natuna oil, gas block: sources

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's PT Medco Energi Tbk MEDC.JK is close to acquiring ConocoPhillips' COP.N entire 40 percent interest in an oil and gas production sharing block that the U.S. firm operates in the Natuna Sea, three people familiar with the matter said.

If it goes ahead, Medco’s acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ interest in the block off the northwest coast of Borneo island would follow its purchase of a majority stake in Indonesia’s second-biggest copper and gold miner Newmont Nusa Tenggara.

Medco is expected to announce the ConocoPhillips deal soon, said one of the sources, who declined to be named as the information was not yet public. Reuters was unable to verify the likely value of the transaction.

ConocoPhillips said in December that it was selling its interest in the South Natuna Sea Block B. A ConocoPhillips company spokesman declined to comment on Friday.

A Medco spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

Apart from ConocoPhillips, others with participating interests in the block are Chevron Corp CVX.N, with 25 percent, and Japan's Inpex Corp 1605.T, with 35 percent.

The block is expected to produce 19,279 barrels of oil and 195.7 million standard cubic feet of gas a day in 2016, according to June data from Indonesia’s energy regulator.

Medco’s senior executive Muhammad Lutfi told Reuters last month the company was exploring the acquisition of offshore oil and gas blocks in Indonesia.

Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Tom Hogue