By Denny Thomas and Sumeet Chatterjee
HONG KONG/MUMBAI (Reuters) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp
The Rovuma offshore field is a hot property after recent discoveries boosted Mozambique's gas reserves to around 150 trillion cubic feet, enough to supply world number one importer Japan for 35 years. The east African country is expected to eventually compete with Australia and Qatar as a major provider of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia.
Last year Thai state oil company PTT Exploration and Production PCL trumped Royal Dutch Shell Plc in a hotly contested battle for Cove Energy Plc and its 8.5 percent of the field. The $1.9 billion price tag for Cove implies the stake now on offer could fetch about $4.5 billion.
Dhoot, who controls consumer electronics to mobile-phone services conglomerate Videocon Group, is leading the process and has hired Standard Chartered
Both banks declined to comment.
First round bids are due on March 14 after an information memorandum on the sale was sent to potential bidders in early February, one of the sources said.
U.S. oil and gas explorer Anadarko is the operator of Mozambique's offshore Area 1 with a 36.5 percent interest, while Japan's Mitsui & Co Ltd <8031.T> is the second-biggest holder in the block with a 20 percent stake.
India's state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd
Shares in Videocon Industries, which has a market value of $1.2 billion, rose as much as 4.6 percent on Tuesday, outpacing a near 1 percent gain for the Mumbai market index.
"The move to monetise its holding in the Mozambique gas block to reduce debt is a positive trigger for the company and the stock," said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities. "That's a good asset and it should get a good valuation."
Graphic on Mozambique's gas consortia, blocks http://link.reuters.com/rug64t
PetroChina, Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp
India's state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp
Shell and Exxon declined to comment. PetroChina officials were not available for comment. ONGC Videsh head D. K. Sarraf declined comment, while Oil India Director Finance T. K. Ananth Kumar said all options were open for the company.
Videocon is seeking about $2.5-$3 billion for its 10 percent stake, though sources warned buyers are unlikely to pay a huge premium over what PTT paid.
"PTT paid what was a good price, but to get to a $3 billion price tag is difficult," a person familiar with the process said.
A spokesman for Anadarko did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday, while Dhoot declined to comment.
Dhoot, who ranks 38th in Forbes' India rich list with a net worth of $1.5 billion, paid $75 million for the Rovuma 1 stake in 2008. His company is expected to use some of the sale proceeds to pare debt of more than $5.5 billion.
Anadarko CEO Al Walker last month told an earnings conference call that the company was looking to sell a 10 percent interest in the block, taking the firm's stake to 26.5 percent.
Together with ENI SpA
(Additional reporting by Prashant Mehra, Anna Driver, Andrew Callus, Charlie Zhu and Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Michael Urquhart)