Looking to continue its “returns-focused” strategy, ConocoPhillips said Wednesday that it will set a number of goals for the next year, including a $1 billion increase to the company’s asset divestment target.

Speaking at a meeting in New York City with security analysts, ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva outlined the continuation of the company’s strategy, describing several actions that will continue to enhance performance over the next year, including:

Mulva said these actions, together with execution of the company’s operating plans, will help improve the company’s debt-to-capital ratio to 33% in 2004 and 32% in 2005, notwithstanding increases in reported overall debt levels as a result of recent accounting changes.

“We continue to use a disciplined approach to improve return on capital employed, strengthen our balance sheet, and generate profitable, long-term growth,” said Mulva. “These actions should result in higher shareholder returns.”

Through the first three quarters of 2003, the company reported that it generated 16.6% in adjusted return on capital employed (ROCE). In addition, mid-cycle ROCE was improved by two percentage points to 9.1%. The mid-cycle ROCE target of 11-14% remains unchanged, as are plans to continue to reduce debt and strengthen the balance sheet.

In addition to its other plans, ConocoPhillips also expects to grow the exploration and production segment of its business to 65% of capital employed, compared to its current level of around 60%. Mulva said the company plans to grow production and improve long-term returns by optimizing its current asset base, developing legacy projects and continuing to secure new major reserves positions.

The company’s refining and marketing segment also expects to improve returns through operating reliably, reducing operating costs and optimizing throughout its integrated system.

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