By Robb M. Stewart
ConocoPhillips boosted its planned share buybacks in 2021 by $1 billion in the expectation of greater savings and benefits from its recently-completed takeover of shale rival Concho Resources Inc.
Ahead of a market update Wednesday in which the energy company said it would affirm its commitment to a disciplined, returns-focused strategy, it said the increase in planned share repurchases would bring total planned distributions for the year to about $6 billion, or 7% of ConocoPhillips's current market capitalization.
The company in March resumed share buybacks at an annualized level of $1.5 billion, a 50% increase on repurchases underway in the final quarter of 2020 when the program was suspended due to the Concho acquisition. ConocoPhillips closed the $9.7 billion acquisition of Concho in mid-January, greatly expanding its footprint in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, the hottest oil field in the U.S.
ConocoPhillips said it was raising anticipated Concho transaction-related synergies and savings to $1 billion annually. At the same time, it said it would reduce capital spending in 2021 and adjusted operating cost guidance by $200 million and $100 million, due to "stronger-than-expected business execution."
Capital expenditure is expected to average about $7 billion annually, resulting in roughly 3% compounded annual production growth at an average reinvestment rate of about 50%, it said.
ConocoPhillips said its return on capital employed is projected to grow 1 to 2 percentage points annually, with balance sheet strength further improving throughout 2022-2031 plan period.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires