ConocoPhillips Could Be Looking For Acquisitions

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ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, may be on the hunt for deepwater and shale assets even as the company is the midst of a massive asset divestment plan aimed at raising cash and shoring up the company's balance sheet. CEO Jim Mulva told the Financial Times his company could boost its capital spending plans if the right opportunities present themselves.

The Houston-based company is planning to spend $13.5 billion this year, but that number could jump to $16 billion if the company finds deals that are to its liking. Mulva said ConocoPhillips (COP) would like to expand in the Gulf of Mexico and believes his company has the expertise and safety record to make that happen, the FT reported.

In addition to bolstering its presence in the Gulf, Conoco is also looking at deepwater assets in West Africa as well as some exploration blocks in Angola, Africa's top oil-producing country, the FT reported. The company is also looking for new shale plays that have the potential to be as lucrative as the Eagle Ford and Marcellus shales.

Last month, Conoco said it plans to sell $5 billion to $10 billion in assets over the next two years in addition to the $7 billion in assets sold in 2010. The company is likely to sell mature assets or assets in countries where the operating environment is deemed challenging.