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Oct 19, 2020

Conoco pledges 'net-zero' emissions in break with U.S. rivals

The oil drilling rig stands at the oil and gas field processing and drilling site operated by Ukrnafta PJSC in Boryslav, Lviv region, Ukraine, on Thursday, July 4, 2019. Ukrnafta co-owner, Naftogaz JSC, the largest gas supplier in the country of 42 million people, is seeking funds to accelerate gas purchases ahead of the heating season and a potential disruption of gas transit by Russia’s Gazprom PJSC from the start of 2020.

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ConocoPhillips is breaking with its U.S. oil peers by aiming to eliminate carbon emissions from its operations and power providers by the middle of the century.

Taking a page from the book of European rivals already pledged to go net zero, Conoco surprised investors and analysts Monday by outlining plans to will reduce its so-called scope 1 and 2 emissions by as much as 45% by 2030. The goal is to wind that down to nothing by 2045 to 2055, the Houston-based company said in a slide presentation.

It’s noteworthy that the target doesn’t include emissions by customers burning or processing Conoco’s crude, natural gas or other products, which represent about 80% of fossil fuel pollution. In that crucial regard, the U.S. explorer’s plan is less ambitious than those of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc.

“We’re the first U.S. based oil and gas company to take this step,” Chief Executive Officer Ryan Lance said during a conference call intended to discuss the company’s $9.7 billion deal to buy Concho Resources Inc.

To read about the biggest deal of Conoco CEO Ryan Lance's tenure, click here.

Once the takeover is consummated, Conoco will restrict drilling capital to projects that will turn a profit even if crude is trading for less than $40 a barrel. That probably will obviate some parts of the company’s existing portfolio -- such as fields in Alaska and the oil sands of western Canada.