ConocoPhillips has increased its quarterly dividend, and has announced plans to improve its financial position and increase returns on capital through a combination of enhanced capital discipline and portfolio rationalization.
"These actions are consistent with our objectives of creating shareholder value and improving financial flexibility while pursuing our long-term strategic initiatives," said Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive officer. "This plan capitalizes on our large resource base and our strong portfolio of projects, while providing flexibility for potential changes in business conditions. We will replace reserves and grow production from a reduced, but more strategic, asset base."
Capital expenditures in 2010 are expected to be approximately $11 billion, down from $12.5 billion in 2009. At this level of funding, the company will support exploration, production and reserve replacement, while preserving its project portfolio for future development. Further details of the company's 2010 capital program will be announced near the end of 2009. The company intends to achieve its objective of replacing reserves through organic growth. Upstream production growth will occur from a reduced base, as a result of the asset rationalizations.
To improve its financial position and strengthen its balance sheet, ConocoPhillips intends to sell approximately $10 billion of assets over the next two years. The dispositions will occur across the company’s Exploration & Production and Refining & Marketing portfolio. Proceeds from dispositions will be targeted to debt reduction, accelerating the company’s return to its stated target debt-to-capital ratio of 20 percent to 25 percent.
These actions will increase the company’s return on capital using normalized commodity price assumptions.
The company also announced a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share, payable Dec. 1, 2009, to stockholders of record at the close of business Oct. 30, 2009. This represents an increase of approximately 6 percent in the dividend rate for the company's common stock. ConocoPhillips has increased the dividend every year since the formation of the company in 2002.
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