UPDATE 1-Santos exits Stag field in sale to Malaysia's Sona Petroleum

Sun Nov 1, 2015 10:21pm EST
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* Sona Petroleum buys Stag field for $50 mln

* Santos says mature field no longer a core asset (Adds Sona's plan, Quadrant statement)

By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Santos Ltd, which rejected a $5 billion takeover offer last month in the hopes of getting better value from selling assets, made its first sale on Monday with a small deal to exit the Stag oil field off northwestern Australia.

Malaysian company Sona Petroleum Bhd said it had agreed to buy the ageing oil field from Santos and private firm Quadrant Energy for $50 million, in a statement.

Santos, scrambling to pay down A$8.8 billion ($6.3 billion) in net debt, had been looking to sell its two-thirds stake in Stag before it effectively put all its assets up for sale in August.

"Stag had delivered a strong production performance over the life of the field but it was now mature and no longer core to the company's strategy," Joe Ariyaratnman, Santos' general manager for Western Australia and Northern Territory said in an emailed comment.

Wood Mackenzie valued Santos' stake in the field, which as of June was producing 4,600 barrels a day, at $13 million.

Santos shares rose 2.6 percent on Monday, defying weakness in other energy company shares.   Continued...