HOUSTON, Dec. 2, 2011 - ConocoPhillips [NYSE:COP] today reported on the progress of its three-year strategic plan to improve returns and create value for its shareholders. The company also announced a 2012 capital program of $15.5 billion and a program to repurchase up to an additional $10 billion of the company’s common stock. The company additionally provided an update on its $15-20 billion asset divestiture program for 2010-2012.
“We have made strong progress on the plan set out in 2010 to enhance our business through a disciplined approach to capital investment, maintaining a strong balance sheet and growing distributions to our shareholders,” said Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive officer. “We continue to optimize the portfolio, selling noncore holdings and allocating investments to the highest-returning projects to position our business for improved returns and greater value.”
The company is also on track to complete its plans to reposition into two leading energy companies during the second quarter of 2012. The downstream company, Phillips 66, will offer a unique approach to downstream integration, comprising segment-leading refining and marketing, midstream and chemicals businesses. ConocoPhillips will become one of the largest and most diverse global pure-play exploration and production companies.
“Our planned repositioning in 2012 will help us grow the value of these two companies for our shareholders and unlock the potential of our assets and employees,” said Mulva. “We believe this is the best way for us to succeed and be competitive in the long term.”
The 2012 capital program of $15.5 billion reflects an increase in Exploration and Production (E&P) segment expenditures. Approximately 90 percent will be in support of E&P, while the Refining and Marketing (R&M) segment represents 8 percent of 2012 planned expenditures.
“The 2012 capital program reflects our strategic emphasis on delivering value by investing in the most profitable opportunities,” said Mulva. “We expect competitive returns from our increased investments in sanctioned unconventional resource projects, such as our growing oil sands business in Canada, liquids-rich shale plays in the U.S. Lower 48, and APLNG venture in Australia. As our production profile adjusts over time to reflect our increased levels of investment in liquids plays and lower levels in North American conventional natural gas, we expect to continue increasing margins in the upstream business.”
The company also expects to deliver on its production and organic reserve replacement targets by continuing to convert its captured resource base to proved reserves, exploring high-impact prospects and building high-quality acreage positions for future development.
Exploration and Production
The 2012 capital program for E&P is $14.0 billion and includes $2.2 billion for worldwide exploration, $0.4 billion of capitalized interest and $0.7 billion for the company’s contributions to the FCCL business venture and loans to other affiliates.
Approximately 60 percent of the E&P capital program will be spent in North America. This represents an increase in the U.S. Lower 48 and Canada compared with prior years, reflecting improved market conditions, with additional emphasis on liquids-rich resource plays and high-return investments.
- In the U.S. Lower 48, capital funding will be focused on the Eagle Ford and other liquids-rich plays in the Permian, Bakken and Barnett fields. The program also funds ongoing development in the San Juan Basin as well as the company’s contribution to the Marine Well Containment Company.
- Spending in Canada will focus on existing steam-assisted gravity drainage oil sands projects and selective programs in western Canada conventional basins, primarily on high-graded resource plays and to maintain a substantial position for future development.
- Capital spending in Alaska is expected to be slightly down compared to 2011 levels, and will be directed toward development of the existing Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk fields, as well as fields on the Western North Slope.
In Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa, total spending is expected to be approximately 40 percent of the E&P capital program.
- Within the Asia Pacific region, funds will be used for further development of the coalbed methane-to-LNG project being developed by the Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) joint venture, as well as for the development of new fields offshore Malaysia and Indonesia.
- In the North Sea, spending is planned for existing and new opportunities in the Greater Ekofisk Area, the Greater Britannia fields and development of the Jasmine and Clair Ridge projects.
The company will continue its focus on accessing, testing and appraising material opportunities in both conventional and non-conventional oil and gas plays. ConocoPhillips plans further appraisal of the Poseidon discovery in the Browse Basin, offshore Australia, and the Tiber and Shenandoah discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. The company also plans to test material prospects in the Gulf of Mexico and Kazakhstan. Delineation of the company’s position in the Eagle Ford shale play will continue, as will pilot programs in shale plays in the Canadian Horn River Basin, Australia and Poland.
Refining and Marketing
The 2012 capital program for R&M is approximately $1.2 billion, with $1.0 billion for its U.S. businesses and the remaining $0.2 billion for international operations. These funds will be used primarily for projects related to sustaining and improving the existing business with a focus on safety, regulatory compliance, efficiency and reliability.
Consistent with prior years, the 2012 capital program for Corporate and all other segments is approximately $0.3 billion, primarily for global information systems and corporate facilities.
Share Repurchase Program
For 2011, ConocoPhillips expects to repurchase approximately 155 million of its own shares, or 11 percent of shares outstanding, for $11 billion. This will bring the company’s total shares repurchased to 15 percent of the shares outstanding at the inception of the $15 billion repurchase program in 2010.
ConocoPhillips today announced its board of directors had approved a share repurchase program for up to a further $10 billion of common stock.
Share acquisitions will be made at management’s discretion at prevailing prices as permitted by securities laws and other legal requirements, and subject to market conditions and other factors. Purchases may be increased, decreased or discontinued at any time without prior notice. Shares of stock repurchased under the plans are held as treasury shares.
Asset Divestiture Program
The company remains committed to its previously announced $15-20 billion asset divestiture program for 2010-2012. Through September 2011, the program has yielded proceeds of $8 billion. Recently announced agreements to sell the company’s interests in two U.S. pipeline companies, along with other sales already closed in the fourth quarter, will increase that total to approximately $10.5 billion.
Separately, ConocoPhillips also completed the sale of its interest in LUKOIL in early 2011, generating total proceeds of $9.5 billion in 2010 and 2011, which were largely used to fund share repurchases by the company.
“We have made significant progress toward optimizing our portfolio by divesting low-return, noncore assets,” said Mulva. “We are well-positioned to meet our three-year target and position the company for growth and enhanced rates of return in the future.”
Proceeds from 2012 asset sales are expected to be used primarily to fund share repurchases under the new program announced today.
“The execution of our strategic plan uniquely positions our businesses for growth and long-term value creation,” said Mulva. “We believe our commitment to capital discipline, portfolio optimization and increasing shareholder distributions will deliver the greatest value to our owners.”
ConocoPhillips is an integrated energy company with interests around the world. Headquartered in Houston, the company had approximately 29,700 employees, $155 billion of assets, and $247 billion of annualized revenues as of Sept. 30, 2011. For more information, go to http://www.conocophillips.com/.
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