* China seen winner of major field stake in three sided deal
* Deal under discussion as more Kazakh crude heads east
* Stake price seen at $5.3-$5.4 billion
ALMATY/MOSCOW, June 28 China is the likely
winner of ConocoPhillips' share in Kazakhstan's Kashagan
field, giving Beijing a stake in one of the biggest oil finds of
the last few decades, three sources familiar with the talks said
The purchase would highlight a growing strategic partnership
between Kazakhstan and China as Astana diverts more crude
eastward towards its energy-hungry neighbour and away from
saturated European markets.
A sale of Kashagan equity to a Chinese company would ensure
that a healthy share of oil from the Caspian Sea field,
containing 12 billion barrels of reserves, will flow over the
shared eastern border between the two countries.
One of the source said the Chinese side, likely China
National Petroleum Corp, would pay around $5.3-$5.4
billion for the stake in the North Caspian Operation Company
(NCOC), but the final price was not determined. The other two
sources did not provide price details.
CNPC was not available for comment.
"(They) will chase (the stake) very aggressively as the
Beijing authority is desperate to fill the empty oil pipeline
from the Caspian side to Xinjiang," said Keun-Wook Paik, a
fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies specialising
in China's energy ties with former Soviet states.
The sale could be a complex three-sided one, with state oil
company Kazmunaigas taking control of the 8.4 percent stake in
the field operator from ConocoPhillips, which is whittling down
its worldwide portfolio, possibly backed by a Chinese loan.
Then the stake could be resold to a Chinese oil company,
whole or in part, two of the sources said.
Kazakhstan has pre-emptive purchase rights and its decision
is due on Tuesday, July 2.
ConocoPhillips had said it intended to sell the stake to
India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp for about