ONGC, Oil India bid $1.5 bln for stake in Murphy Oil's Malaysia assets - sources

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:56pm IST

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NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) - State-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp and Oil India Ltd have submitted a joint bid worth about $1.5 billion to buy a stake in Murphy Oil Corp's Malaysian oil and gas assets, sources directly involved in the process said.

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.

If successful, ONGC, India's largest oil and gas exploration company, will own a 20 percent stake in the assets, while Oil India would own the remaining 10 percent, said three sources involved in the process.

Two of the sources said that the bid value is below $1.5 billion, but a third source said the joint bid is preliminary and the final deal value may change depending on rival bids.

India's state explorers including ONGC, India's largest oil and gas exploration company, have been looking overseas as they struggle to boost the country's energy security and arrest decline from local gas fields.

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 $2.5 billion. In August ONGC agreed to buy another 10-percent stake in the field from Anadarko Petroleum.

Malaysia is the biggest part of Murphy's Asian portfolio, accounting for more than 45 percent of its total 2012 net production, according to the company's website.

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 of gas, it said.

Earlier this month a source familiar with the matter said Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp had submitted a non-binding bid for the assets. Kuwait Petroleum Corp and Japan's Mitsui & Co were among the other suitors considering a bid.

S.P. Garg, acting managing director of ONGC Videsh, ONGC's overseas business arm, was not available for comment, while Oil India Chairman Sunil Kumar Srivastava declined to comment.

Murphy Oil did not respond to a request for comment.

(Editing by Tom Hogue and Greg Mahlich)

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