A Closer Look at What’s Next for ConocoPhillips

A deeper look at how ConocoPhillips’ major capital projects will fuel growth in the future.

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:00AM

Conocophillips Ekofisk

Photo credit: ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) recently released its 2014 capital expenditure plan. The oil and gas giant plans on spending a total of $16.7 billion in the year ahead. Slightly more than half of that capital is being spent to fuel the company's returns in 2014. The rest of the money is being spent with an eye toward the future. Let's take a closer look at what that future holds for the company.

Major project update
It's always a good idea for investors to know where an oil and gas company is spending its money in the year ahead. For ConocoPhillips, about 35% of its 2014 budget will be spent on major projects that won't begin to deliver returns until 2015 or beyond. The company has three major focus areas that are expected to add 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or BOE/d, by 2017.

In Canada, the company is planning to spend to continue brining Phase 2 of its Surmont joint venture with Total (NYSE:TOT) online by 2015. In addition to that, the company will continue spending on its joint venture with Cenovus Energy (NYSE:CVE) on expansions at Foster Creek and Christian Lake. The Cenovus venture has four phases currently in development that will begin to deliver in the 2015-2017 time frame.

ConocoPhillips also has several major projects in development over in Europe. Topping that list is Eldfisk II in Norway, which is expected to begin producing in early 2015. The project, in which Total is also a partner, should produce about 70,000 BOE/d once complete.

The final major project that investors should keep an eye on is the APLNG. Conoco and its partners will see peak spending on that project in 2014, with first LNG expected by mid-2015. The project will take coal seam gas, liquefy it, and then export it to international markets, including Asia.

Looking further afield
In addition to these major projects, ConocoPhillips has several other future opportunities that it is pursuing through its exploration and appraisal program. The company is spending about 13% of its budget in this area, with 60% of the funds being spent on conventional opportunities and 40% on unconventional opportunities.

A big focus for ConocoPhillips in the future will be the Gulf of Mexico. The near-term focus for the company is to continue to appraise recent discoveries at Coronado, Shenandoah, and Tiber. That's in addition to supporting its drilling program to add to these recent discoveries. These deepwater opportunities could add to the company's production growth in the back half of this decade.

The other focus for ConocoPhillips will be unconventional shale opportunities in North America as well as Colombia, Poland and China. In North America, the company is focusing on the Permian Basin in Texas and the Niobrara in Colorado, as well as the Canol, Duvernay, and Montney plays in Canada. If significant oil and gas are confirmed, these fields could be developed much quicker than the company's deepwater opportunities in the Gulf.

Investor takeaway
ConocoPhillips is loaded with future opportunities. The company has several projects scheduled to start delivering production in 2015. Not only that, but ConocoPhillips should have a steady flow of projects that will deliver returns for its investors for many years to come.

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Fool contributor Matt DiLallo owns shares of ConocoPhillips. The Motley Fool recommends Total SA. (ADR). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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