ConocoPhillips (COP) at its analyst meeting held in New York City reiterated its target of delivering double-digit returns annually to shareholders by growing production and margins by 3% to 5% a year and offering a compelling dividend.
Since Apr 2012, when the company spun off its refining operations to Phillips 66 (PSX), it has generated total shareholder returns of 22.6%. The company also augmented its total resource base in its Eagle Ford acreage to 2.5 billion barrels from 1.8 billion barrels. The number represents original oil in place and not recoverable barrels of proved reserves. ConocoPhillips also intends to boost production in the Eagle Ford play to 250,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2017.
Over the next several years, ConocoPhillips proposes to enhance its annual capital spending to $16 billion. The amount signifies a boost of 60% in the amount it commits for development so that the company can attain its reserve replacement goal of over 100% per year.
About 95% of ConocoPhillips’ spending will be aimed at areas that deliver a minimum margin of $30 per barrel of oil equivalent. Of the annual capex budget of $16 billion, $5.5 billion will be allocated for North American unconventional plays, including the Eagle Ford, Bakken, Permian Basin and Niobrara plays.
ConocoPhillips has added 6.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent of resources since 2009 through a diverse and balanced exploration and appraisal portfolio of high-value prospects. The four large U.S. Gulf of Mexico discoveries – Tiber, Gila, Shenandoah and Coronado – are considered to be among the high-quality prospects.
The recent activity aims offshore prospects in Australia Angola and Senegal, conventional exploration in Norway and Indonesia and unconventional exploration in North America, Poland and Colombia.
ConocoPhillips carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the industry include Range Resources Corporation (RRC) and Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (HP), both with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).