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EXCLUSIVE-Freeport-McMoRan mulls $5 bln sale of California oil assets -sources

-sources@

NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Freeport-McMoRan Inc has contacted potential buyers about selling its onshore oil wells in California, which could fetch as much as $5 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

The Phoenix-based natural resources company, which owns mines and oil wells around the world, has been actively pursuing asset sales in order to reduce debt, which totals more than $20 billion.

Freeport is in the early stages of approaching prospective buyers, which could include other oil companies as well as private equity firms, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

A representative for Freeport declined to comment.

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Leslie Adler)