MELBOURNE, July 14 (Reuters) - Australia's Woodside Petroleum has agreed to buy ConocoPhillips' deepwater stakes off Senegal, including one of the world's most promising recent oil finds, for $350 million.
The acquisition includes a 35 percent interest in the 560 million barrel SNE deep water oil discovery and the FAN oil discovery farther offshore, with Woodside gaining the option to become operator for development and production of the fields.
"We are taking advantage of our balance sheet to acquire a world-class asset that fits well with our capabilities, offers significant future upside in exploration and line-of-sight to near term oil production," Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman said in a statement.
The move is key for Woodside which is short of near term growth prospects after giving up multibillion dollar plans to develop gas off Israel, postponing plans to develop the Browse liquefied natural gas project off Australia, and being spurned in a takeover offer for Oil Search.
The fields' operator is currently Britain's Cairn Energy Plc, which owns 40 percent and is looking to sell down its stake.
Australia's FAR Ltd owns 15 percent of the fields and Senegal's state-owned Petrosen holds 10 percent.
(Reporting by Sonali Paul)
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