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Occidental seeks buyers for 40 percent of Middle East unit: report

(Reuters) - Occidental Petroleum Corp is looking to sell 40 percent of its Middle East operations for $8 billion, Bloomberg reported on Friday, as Oxy seeks investment in the unit as part of a broader plan to split up the company.

Chief Executive Steve Chazen has talked openly since April about a potential deal for its Middle East and North Africa assets, which run across countries from Libya to Iraq to Yemen. Analysts also say its California operations could be spun out.

Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter, said Chazen has put a value of about $20 billion on the Middle East arm, which would be in line with analysts' previous estimates.

A spokeswoman for Occidental was not immediately available for comment.

Shares of the Los Angeles-based company were 0.5 percent higher at $91.51 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock is up more than $10 per share since the company began discussing a potential break-up in April.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese)