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UPDATE 3-Australia's Santos target of proposed $8 bln takeover bid -report

* Bid tipped around A$11 bln, 21 pct premium to last trade-AFR

* Santos rejected A$7.1 bln takeover proposal in 2015

* Harbour Energy backed by EIG Global Energy Partners (Changes dateline, adds Cook background, fund manager comment, price target)

MELBOURNE, Nov 16 (Reuters) - A consortium of global energy investors has approached Australian oil and gas major Santos Ltd with a proposal for an all-cash takeover worth A$11 billion ($8.3 billion), local media reported on Thursday.

Linda Cook, a former executive director at Royal Dutch Shell Plc, had recently approached the Santos board with an invitation to support a takeover by her private equity-backed firm Harbour Energy, the Australian Financial Review reported.

Indicative pricing for the bid was expected to be around A$5.30 per share, a 21 percent premium to Wednesday's closing price of A$4.38 and well above analysts' average price target of A$4.26, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"Linda was an architect of Shell's LNG business in Australia and had overseen its development. It is therefore not surprising that Linda would be interested in getting involved in Australian LNG with Harbour," a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The pitch was expected to be ready to present to Santos within weeks, the newspaper said without citing sources.

Harbour Energy's general counsel declined to comment, and Santos did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Santos rejected a A$7.1 billion takeover proposal two years ago from a fund called Scepter backed by the ruling families of Brunei and the United Arab Emirates, at a time when the company was saddled with nearly A$9 billion in debt.

It has since slashed debt and cut costs, positioning itself to benefit from rising oil and gas prices at its Gladstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, and gas assets in Papua New Guinea, Australia's Cooper Basin and offshore northern Australia.

"Our confidence in Santos management continues to improve, particularly post the investor tour this week," said John Grace, co-head of equities at fund manager Ausbil, the sixth largest shareholder in Santos. He declined to comment on what would be a fair price for Santos.

Santos expects to hold its gas output roughly steady over the next several years, with growth to kick off in 2023 from projects in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Its latest reported suitor, Harbour Energy, was formed in 2014 by private equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners to make investments outside the United States.

Earlier this year Harbour completed a $3 billion purchase of Shell's UK North Sea assets with Chrysaor Holdings Ltd, making it the largest independent oil and gas producer in the North Sea.

Its backer EIG has already invested in Australia, funding Senex Energy on a coal seam gas project and taking a 12 percent stake in the junior producer in a market that faces a gas supply crunch and soaring prices.

Santos' biggest shareholder is China's ENN Ecological Holdings Co, which together with private equity partner Hony Capital holds 15.1 percent of the group.

($1 = 1.3186 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Additional reporting by Gary McWilliams, Ernest Scheyder and Ron Bousso; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Richard Pullin)