ConocoPhillips’ (COP - Analyst Report) wholly owned subsidiary Polar Tankers, Inc. received the Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Osprey Award for Environmental Excellence from The United States Coast Guard (USCG). Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, the USCG 29th Vice Commandant, presented the award on Wednesday at the American Petroleum Institute Tanker Conference.
The Benkert awards were created to recognize outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection that go beyond industry and regulatory standards. A committee reviews and scores award applications submitted biennially by maritime operators. The Osprey-level Benkert award is the highest environmental award given by the USCG.
Polar Tankers is a wholly owned subsidiary of ConocoPhillips that includes five company-owned, double-hulled tankers, each with a million-barrel capacity and state-of-the-art redundant systems for environmental safety. The company operates these Endeavour-class tankers in the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System (TAPS) trade, loading crude oil in the Port of Valdez, AK, and delivering to terminals within Puget Sound, WA; San Francisco and LA/Long Beach, CA; and Hawaii.
ConocoPhillips holds leading positions in both natural gas and heavy crude oil acreages in North America, as well as a legacy position in the North Sea and growing exposure to lucrative international regions. The Houston, TX-based company thus looks forward to replacing reserves and sustaining production growth over the long term.
ConocoPhillips’ initiatives toward liquids-rich plays are gaining momentum through the Eagle Ford, Bakken and Permian plays. The company is also poised to benefit from a pipeline of projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Malaysia, the liquefied natural gas project in Australia, the U.K., Norway, and the Canadian oil sands, apart from the US Lower 48 liquids-rich plays. Oil sands expansion projects are also on track.
Since Apr 2012, when the company spun off its refining operations to Phillips 66 (PSX - Analyst Report), it has delivered total shareholder returns of 22%. ConocoPhillips’ complete shift of focus to upstream operations and thus oil and gas prices play a major role in determining its performance. The company plans to expand production by maintaining its growth focus on reserves, through global drilling programs in legacy assets, unconventional assets and major projects.
ConocoPhillips’ margin growth would also be aided by its shift of production mix to higher-value products. The company expects to spend $16 billion on average annually and allocate 95% of its capital to investments that deliver above-average margins. The recent activity targets offshore prospects in Australia, Angola and Senegal, conventional exploration in Norway and Indonesia, and unconventional exploration in North America, Poland and Colombia.
ConocoPhillips currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other better-ranked stocks in the oil and gas sector include Encana Corp (ECA - Analyst Report) and Matrix Service Company (MTRX - Snapshot Report), both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).