UPDATE 1-Hess, Newfield launch sale of $3 bln of Asian assets -sources

Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:57am EDT
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* KUFPEC, Premier Oil, Pertamina, Talisman considering bids for the assets

* Hess under pressure from activist investor Elliot to improve performance

* Newfield selling interest in Malaysian and Chinese assets

* Moody's expects shareholder activism to continue

By Denny Thomas

HONG KONG, June 21 (Reuters) - U.S. energy companies Hess Corp and Newfield Exploration Co have launched two separate auctions to sell part of their Asian oil and gas field stakes that have a combined value of about $3 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

Hess and Newfield, like a number of U.S. energy companies, have been unloading ageing and less productive oil and gas fields and investing back into more strategic and profitable projects, particularly in and close to their home markets, driven in part by activist shareholders.

Their retreat has been met by interest from Asian state oil companies and others keen to boost their portfolios in the region.

Hess, under the gun from hedge fund Elliot Management since January for changes to its governance and long-term strategy, has announced plans to become a pure-play exploration and production company.   Continued...