ConocoPhillips announces $15.8 billion capital budget

ConocoPhillips will funnel $15.8 billion into its capital spending program next year, largely targeting growth in North America, the company announced Friday.

The company’s 2012 capital program was budgeted for $15.5 billion, allotting $14 billion for ConocoPhillips’ exploration and production business. However, the Houston-based company became a pure oil and natural gas exploration and production company in April after spinning off its refineries and other businesses earlier this year into a company called Phillips 66.

ConocoPhillips now expects to end the year with between $15.5 billion and $16 billion in capital spending.

“Our 2013 capital budget provides funding for the key growth projects and programs in our portfolio and provides flexibility to capture new opportunities that may arise,” said CEO Ryan Lance in a written statement. “Next year’s investments will be directed predominantly toward high-quality growth projects and programs that are already in execution mode, as well as exploration opportunities to build inventory for the future.”

About 40 percent of the budget will fund the exploitation of acreage to offset the natural decline of production in existing projects, according to the company statement. Two-thirds of that spending will target the lower 48 U.S. states, primarily drilling and infrastructure development in the nation’s shale regions and the Permian Basin of West Texas, according to a company statement.

Another 35 percent of the capital program will focus on ConocoPhillips’ major projects, including oil sands in Canada and a coalbed methane-to-liquefied natural gas  joint venture in Australia.

The company plans to allot 15 percent of the capital budget to exploration activities, including projects in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico and shale regions internationally.