Conoco joins big oil’s newfound thrift with plan to cut debt

SourceEnergy Voice
SectorOil & Gas

ConocoPhillips will use a rebound in oil and gas prices to cut debt by about 25% over the next five years, signaling a focus on financial prudence even after completing one of the biggest shale takeovers in recent years.

The Houston-based company will cut its borrowings by $5 billion, it said in a statement Tuesday, essentially returning its debt pile to the same level as before its purchase of Concho Resources Inc. earlier this year.

The plan comes in addition to Conoco’s $1.5 billion-a-year share buyback, which may be increased by the planned sale of its 10% stake in Cenovus Energy Inc., valued at about $2 billion at current prices.

U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron also signaled their intention to use surging cash flow to pay down debt and restore their financial strength last week, following a string of damaging losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The big question is whether independent shale producers like Conoco will do the more...