Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) said Thursday there is good interest from potential buyers of its 25% stake in the Kitan oil development in the Timor Sea, and it is expecting final bids toward the end of this month.
The auction comes as benchmark oil prices continue to be above $100 a barrel as demand recovers in major markets such as the U.S. and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa clouds the outlook for supply, especially in Libya where crude exports have stopped.
The Kitan oil field, discovered early in 2008 in permit area JPDA 06-105 between Australia and East Timor, is due to start up in the second half of this year at an initial rate of 40,000 barrels of crude a day.
"We are not prepared to talk to the number of bidders or who is on the shortlist--except to say good interest in the asset and we are expecting final bids in the latter part of June," said David Mann, Talisman's vice-president of corporate communications.
Kitan is operated by Italy's Eni SpA (E) with a 40% stake, and Japan's Inpex Corp. (1605.TO) holds the remaining 35% interest.
-By David Winning, Dow Jones Newswires; +61-2-82724688; firstname.lastname@example.org