ConocoPhillips - let's drill national monuments


ConocoPhillips is one of the corporate sponsors of the business school along with El Paso and Enron. Graduate students are therefore pressed to join one of these official corporate sponsors. Conoco is also on a list of recruiters that seek UT business graduates. An Arthur Andersen director was quoted, "In any discussion of high quality accounting education – worldwide – The University of Texas at Austin is consistently in the forefront." UT does provide a good education, especially in business. However, a good education is usually judged by the amount of graduates who are hired into big name companies. These companies are already knocking on UT’s door, and that is why we are at the forefront of any business discussions. This is another example of how big businesses scratch each others’ backs.

Not to say that the business school is the only lucky one to be receiving money from this corporation, the engineering school has known Conoco for the last 20+ years for the annual College of Engineering strategic planning session. In February 2002, UT even gave Conoco the fifth annual Texas Star Award, which is given to a corporate buddy in recognition of their financial support within the college. Conoco has made available the Purple Sage Ranch for the engineering ‘executive team’ to discuss certain items. It allows for a handful of people to spend a weekend in a ranch to make executive decisions. This is a great message to send to students: "Work kindly with us, and this is the hard knock life you’ll receive."

Terri Clynes is a UT alumnus, receiving a degree in International Business. She was a director at Enron, and when it collapsed she drifted over to Conoco. Her new title at Conoco is Manager of Power Marketing & Origination - she simply went back to another familiar name.

Based in Houston, Conoco naturally has ties with UT. The regents are interested in the company, and the company likes what the regents and UTIMCO have to offer. As of June 2003, UTIMCO had $1,121,208 invested in Conoco. As Conoco expands almost by the day, so do its shares. UTIMCO and the regents are no exception.

Conoco’s Background

Conoco is one of the leading oil and gas companies around the world. They are currently the marketing and refining leaders with nine refineries worldwide. There are more than 8,000 outlets in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific with a potential core area in Southeast Asia.

Conoco was the first company to ever drill on federally owned land. Former President Bill Clinton had proclaimed the establishment of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Reese Canyon in Utah on September 18, 1996. Conoco first filed an application to drill on land owned by the State of Utah in January of 1997, and less than a month later they filed a similar application to drill federally owned land. They were granted leases for about 140,000 acres of federal and state land prior to the applications but following the formation of the monument. Conoco temporarily decided that it would compromise with environmentalists, but they broke that and secretly began drilling June 6, 1997 on the land owned by the State of Utah.

Conoco is also a member of the National Wetlands Coalition. This sounds innocent, but their goal is to pull back "burdensome and ineffective regulations" cast out by the government. They also have had to settle a few lawsuits with citizens in certain Southwestern states. In Louisiana, they were in violated Louisiana Hazardous Waste laws for one of their refineries in that state. In Denver, they broke 78 hazardous waste laws and were forced to pay $600,000 to compensate. Finally, in one of the largest US settlements ever reached on polluting the environment, a lawsuit was presented by citizens of Oklahoma for a refinery in their backyard. Conoco settled and paid $20 million. Conoco is owned by DuPont, who is one of the largest producers of toxic wastes on the planet.

Conoco on the move

In July 2002, Conoco purchased the Gulf Canada Resources, which will add more than one billion barrels of oil to their reserves. Conoco now has 3.7 billion worldwide. Conoco is now the sixth largest producer in Canada. Shortly after this acquisition, the company announced that it would participate alongside ChevronTexaco drilling off the coast of Nova Scotia. With an expected completion date in September 2002, the company looks to make additional 20 percent from this project.

In the same month, Conoco decided to expand its business in another part of the world. On July 12, they and two Russian partners started production in the newly developed Oshkotyn oil field in the Northern Timan-Pechora hydrocarbon province 1,000 miles northeast of Moscow. Conoco used some of its experience from drilling in Alaska to perforate the surface of the tundra. In 1994, they sold their holdings in the "Tract 14" area of Schrader Bluff to BP Amoco after building four pads and drilled several wells to test oil production in that area.

Conoco is a company that continues to be on the up and up despite the happenings in the stock market and the SEC. It has a history, some currently being written, of ruinous environmental violations. Conoco is attempting to catch ExxonMobil (fitting that they are both headquartered in Texas) in the sense that they wish to be an immovable conglomerate with plans for worldwide domination. Neither care for the common man, and both are always looking to expand. Conoco can serve as a euphemism for this university: it can never seem to be big enough, and it constantly ignores the common person.


  • ConocoPhillips posted massive 4th quarter losses (1/29/03)