Anadarko Petroleum, the Texan partner in BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well which exploded in April, is eyeing a 75 per cent stake in the onshore Jolly Ranch scheme in Colorado.
The move would be significant, as offshore schemes could present difficulties after the Deepwater spill. Anadarko has refused to pay its share of the clean-up bill, after its chief executive, Jim Hackett, accused BP of "reckless decisions and actions".
The Jolly Ranch scheme is a 50:50 joint venture between Running Foxes Petroleum in Colorado and the London-listed Nighthawk Energy. They require a big-name partner with a strong balance sheet to help develop the potentially lucrative project.
Prices for oil fields vary wildly, which means the duo could end up accepting anything between $300m and $1.5bn for the stake.
Several US oil majors are interested, and adviser Macquarie Tristone is hopeful that a sale can take place in the fourth quarter of this year.
Nighthawk's chief executive, David Bramhill, declined to comment.