ConocoPhillips, the third largest oil company in the United States, announced on Monday that it will sell its 8.4-percent stake in the giant Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan for 5 billion US dollars. ConocoPhillips and the tentative buyer ONGC Videsh Limited, the international arm of India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited, expect to close the deal in the first half of next year, according to a statement from ConocoPhillips. The sale will bring to about 7 billion US dollars the proceeds raised by the Houston-based ConocoPhillips, which has targeted as much as 10 billion dollars of sales during 2012 and 2013, the statement said. North Caspian Sea Operating Co. BV operates Kashagan, one of the world's biggest oilfields. Consortium partners include state- controlled KazMunaiGas, operator Eni, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total, each with about 17 percent of the project. Having cost about 46 billion US dollars -- almost double early estimates -- and running eight years late, output of Kashagan, located in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea, may start in March. ConocoPhillips has sold more than 20 billion US dollars in assets and investments since 2010. The company is focusing more on the US market and has seen growth this year in unconventional plays like the Eagle Ford and Bakken.