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ConocoPhillips splitting in two, fate of plastics operations undecided

By: Rhoda Miel

July 14, 2011

HOUSTON (July 14, 2 p.m. ET) — ConocoPhillips Co. is splitting itself into two independent companies, but just which one will oversee its plastics joint venture may not be decided for “several months.”

The Houston-based company announced its plan July 14 to spin off its downstream operations to create one firm overseeing refining and marketing and a separate firm covering exploration and production. The move will improve the company’s value, executives said, by allowing each business to further focus on its specific needs.

The proposal still must win federal regulator and shareholder approval, but CEO Jim Mulva said they expect to complete the work within the first half of 2012.

However, it is not certain yet what will happen to joint ventures, including Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP, owned with Chevron and which group will own ConocoPhillips stake.

“That [decision] will be made over the next several months,” Mulva said in a conference call with analysts.

Among Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC’s holdings is Performance Pipe, a Plano, Texas-based polyethylene pipe extruder.

Performance Pipe ranked No. 7 on Plastics News’ recent survey of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders, with estimated relevant sales of $400 million.

Chevron Phillips also makes polyethylene, polypropylene, polyphenylene sulfide and styrene-butadiene copolymer resins.