The Lower 48 will again factor heavily into ConocoPhillips’ operating plans this year despite what the company’s chief executive said are “external pressures” facing the industry as the Biden administration appears ready to more actively regulate oil and natural gas operations. 

Conoco Earnings

Meanwhile, the world’s largest independent continues grappling with a global economy weakened by the Covid-19 outbreak and plans to move through 2021 cautiously given the pandemic’s impacts on energy markets. Even after a blockbuster deal late last year to acquire Concho Resources Inc., the Houston operator plans to stay in maintenance mode this year and largely sustain 2020 production. The deal closed Jan. 15 to create a behemoth producer in the Permian Basin.

ConocoPhillips laid out plans...