Conoco’s oil sands, gas asset sales slash output back to 2002 levels


ConocoPhillips’ two recently announced multibillion-dollar asset sales in North America will reduce its oil and gas production to the lowest levels since 2002.

The Houston oil company estimates its annual energy output will fall from about 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent a day to about 1.1 million after it closes deals to sell off Canadian oil sands projects and U.S. natural gas properties for a combined $16.3 billion later this year.

Conoco, the largest Houston oil producer, would still pump more oil and gas than any other independent U.S. oil company, but even so, selling off that much of its production base will bring it back down to levels it saw in 2002, the year after it merged with Phillips Petroleum and joined the ranks of the Western World’s largest oil companies.

Related: ConocoPhillips to sell natural gas assets in San Juan Basin for $3 billion

A decade later, Conoco spun off its refining and chemicals arm into Phillips 66 and exited the consortium of companies that run Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oil field, symbolically leaving the Big Oil club. In the downturn, it cut hundreds of jobs and said it would wind down its deep-water exploration business and focus on more profitable ventures.

“The days of feeling the need to be a global oil producer are over,” said Brian Youngberg, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

Read more about how two recent deals by Conoco further its transformation from an oil major to a leaner oil producer.