FAIRBANKS - Oil company ConocoPhillips plans to spend $1 billion on exploration and production in Alaska in 2008, officials said Friday.
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That's nearly 22 percent more than the amount the company budgeted for the state in 2007.
The budget comes one week after ConocoPhillips proposed a $30 billion pipeline to bring North Slope natural gas to market. If successful, the company plans to start field work as early as next summer, but would not say how the massive project might fit into the current spending plan.
"It's too early to speculate on the outcome of a natural gas pipeline and how it will affect the capital budget," spokeswoman Natalie Knox Lowman wrote in an e-mail response to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
The $1 billion budgeted for Alaska this year is subject to change, as actual spending often differs greatly from budgeted amounts.
The company said it plans to focus its spending on the Alpine satellites and the West Sak heavy-oil field and on continued work on the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk fields.
ConocoPhillips set aside $11 billion for exploration and production projects in seven regions around the world as part of a $15.3 billion capital budget for 2008.
Alaska projects represent around 9 percent of ConocoPhillips' total exploration and production budget for 2008, compared with 7.7 percent of the projects budgeted for 2007. The company is expected to release actual 2007 spending figures in February.
The budget comes less than a month after Alaska lawmakers voted to increase taxes on the oil industry, a move companies warned would decrease investment in the state.
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